Thursday, August 28, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
I met James while double-dutching at the piers. I always noticed and admired his young and confidently out attitude. He is the next generation - the younger of the young so often discussed on this blog.
Here is what he has to say:
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I find myself bouncing around locations like a pinball hitting a bumper. NYC, Fire Island, NYC (reprise) and now NJ for a few days. I figure I should spend the extra time I have off with my parents. I don't spend "city" money or keep "city" schedules when out here with Mom, Dad, a full fridge and the crickets of a suburban summer.
Life, a little less slower. A vacation from vacation. I'm sitting down to 6:30 dinners of London broil, spinach and corn on the cob. The big debate my mother and I had this evening was nothing more painstaking than choosing between ice cream or iced coffee.
There are stars out here. Slight punctures of darkness so easily forgotten in the city yet so commonplace here that their brightness goes unnoticed, as does the incessant chirp of cicadas and the rustling of lush leaves in the heavy-humid breeze.
Right now, the room is lit only by the blue-black flicker of the television airing the Olympics and my father snoring through the commercials. The hum of central air conditioning lingers above me and the couch is cotton-like and welcoming.
Tomorrow as part of my vacation fueled, aimless, do-what-ever coup de etat I'll go to Sandy Hook beach and re submerge myself within the with-it culture. I'll leave behind the sticky air and quiet hardly traveled pavement and trade it in for sand and noise and jelly fish and trash.
It'll be around 6 when I get home. The time of day when yellow touches upon gold and Mom walks in the door sweating and pink from a brisk walk or game of tennis. She will prepare dinner after taking a shower and Dad will leave the computer or his sport's scores to come to the table. We'll sit down and pass the salad with stories of the day and flick the salt shaker in between anecdotes. When we finish mom will clear the plates and Dad will return to television. I'll curl up on the couch, let the cushions take my form, and try just for a moment, to lie as still as this house, which stands in the grass under the suburban stars.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Ryan Davis and I threw this together the other night
Please come and show your support!
Meeting Info: Community Board 4's Business Licenses & Permits Committee, 6:30 PM, Tuesday, Aug. 12th, in The Minetta Room of The Westin Hotel, at 270 W. 43rd St between 7th and 8th Avenue.
Please join the Facebook group here!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Right now my best friend and 1st cousin Randee Riot is at her all-time favorite event, The annual Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, otherwise known as Fest or Michfest.
According to the Michigan's Womyn Festival Wikipedia page the festival was set up as:
...a response to misogyny, sexism and homophobia, MWMF was created in 1976 by 19-year-old Lisa Vogel, her sister Kristie, and Mary Kindig, the We Want the Music Collective. All three were working-class women from Michigan who had seen female musicians and stagehands demeaned and repeatedly harassed at festivals and venues run by men.
MWMF created (and continues to create) a feminist alternative, and a niche for lesbians in the music scene. It continues to create an annual place for living out lesbian feminist politics. Many queer women feel safe and "at home" at Michigan, with the result that lesbian-identified women are among the 3,000-10,000 women who attend each year.
Randee continually stresses the enjoyment of being surrounded by a space that is only filled with women. All women, all week. She often talks about the sense of undeniable "sisterhood" that develops throughout the week and how liberating it is to walk the land topless in a women-only society. In fact, it is one of the only places, if not the ONLY place where a woman can walk naked within a women-only environment.
However, the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival has been under criticism for a number of years due to the founder's "Womyn-born-womyn" policy. Here's some background on that:
Since its inception, "the Michigan Festival...always has been an event for women, and this continues to be defined as womyn born womyn" (Lisa Vogel & Barbara Price). This policy has gained notoriety for the festival, as it officially requests that the attendees be "womyn-born-womyn" (WBW) only. That is, those who were born and raised as girls, and currently identify as women. MWMF is one of only a few women's festivals with a WBW policy.their event, but this debate has me asking, "How does one define Transgenderism?"
In 1991 Nancy Burkholder, who had attended the festival the year before without incident, was expelled from MWMF when she disclosed her transsexual status to festival workers who, in turn, informed the festival office. Burkholder was asked to leave the festival and received a full refund of her ticket. Festival organizers continued to advocate their support of the women-born-women policy even as criticism from some segments of the queer community mounted in response to Burkholder's departure.
Supporters of the policy believe that the particularity of WBW experience (separate and apart from a woman's experience) comes from being born and raised in a female body, and see the festival as a celebration of that experience, under the oppression of patriarchy. Many attendees and workers remark on feelings of liberation they experienced while within the WBW-only environment of the festival: from a feeling of safety at being able to walk in the dark without fear, to a deep and sometimes virgin acceptance of their bodies. Supporters of the policy feel that the experience of being WBW in a place that honors the bodies, brains and brawn of WBW (regardless of how they "fit" into mainstream culture), and rescripts the limiting experiences available for women and girls, is vital to unlearning a lifetime of internalized misogyny for both attendees and festival volunteers.
The festival has stated that it does not and will not perform "panty checks." Rather, it states that women must "self-monitor", and attend only if they can honestly state that they were born as a girl, lived as a girl, and presently identify as a woman.
In my personal opinion, if one feels as though he or she has been born into the
wrong body than that's enough to qualify as Trans, or the new, less technical term GenderQueer. Although The Womyn's Music Festival vows to not do any "
panty checks" it seems as though the inclusion of Transpeople to a festival like this would have to be all or nothing. Being pre-op, half-op or even post-operation male-to-female transgender simply cannot matter. Who is to say that being pre or post op makes one more or less of a woman? You simply can't.
With ENDA in the news and Transpeople becoming a louder and more visible community it is important that we are compassionate to the perspective and struggle of transfolk. I've often heard straight people ask, "but I just don't understand the whole gay thing." To that I respond, "It's not for you to understand. You're not gay." I do, however, expect compassion and respect.
I remember at a community forum not too long ago a Transman standing up and saying, "We do our activism everyday by merely being who we are and walking within society. We need you people, the community, to walk alongside us."
Back on the table again!
Via the Huffington Post:
When I reported last month that New York City Nightlife was under attack and asked readers to rally in support, thousands of people responded in what Gay City News called an "unprecedented Internet-fueled campaign." The meeting to grant the Roxy a new liquor license was unfortunately postponed, but has now been rescheduled for Tuesday, August 12th.
As I said about the meeting last month:
This Tuesday, you have a real opportunity to stand up for New York City nightlife, which has been increasingly under attack from a small group of residents. These groups are fighting to end the city's legacy as a global nightlife destination, attempting to allow fewer licenses to be issued, closing bars early, and even shutting down some venues.
The historic Roxy nightclub is attempting to reopen, and their ability to obtain a liquor license may be blocked by Chelsea's fringe anti-nightlife activists. On Tuesday, you can attend Community Board Four's Business Licenses & Permits Meeting and ask the Board to preserve New York's outstanding nightlife.
I've setup this facebook event for you to join and invite your friends. It's time to fight back against the "wanna-be suburbanites" (as New York Blade Columnist Allen Roskoff calls them) trying to turn New York City into a sleepy bedroom community.
See you all on Tuesday!Meeting Info: Community Board 4's Business Licenses & Permits Committee, 6:30 PM, Tuesday, Aug. 12th, in The Minetta Room of The Westin Hotel, at 270 W. 43rd St between 7th and 8th Avenue.
And Gay City News tipped their hat to all the bloggers and web-people who helped get the word out:
Davis' call to action was immediately posted on GayWired and gay blogs such as Queerty and the Bilerico Project, as well as New York magazine's Grub Street and Gothamist.com. The Facebook group eventually had 1,000 members, 116 of whom classified themselves as "definitely attending" the Tuesday meeting - with 300 or so "maybes."
Monday, August 4, 2008
"I did," I responded, "Aye, I did."
Around midnight on Saturday I found myself wondering aimlessly on 14th Street. I didn't know if I was coming or going, if I wanted ice cream or to see a movie or to go for a drink. I sat in Union Square soaking up the summer activity. A BMX'er jumping off stairs, NYU girls being cat-called by baggy-jeaned and shirtless skate boarders, others simply listening to ipods and smoking cigarettes. Union Square during a mid-summer's night is quintessential New York. One of the few remaining public spaces reminding her residents this still is "the city that doesn't sleep."
I happened to have my double dutch ropes in my backpack and figured I'd give Union Square a shot since I wasn't anywhere close to my usual playground of The Christopher St. Piers.
I spotted a flawlessly florescent dressed girl, no older than 19, with hair that would make Kelis proud. I approached her and her equally loud-dressed friends.
"Hey. You guys know how to turn double-dutch?"
They turned away from their cell phones and text messaging and looked me up and down making sure that, yes it was in fact, the white bearded guy in front of them asking if they know how to "turn rope."
"Wha chu mean turn double dutch? You got ropes?"
I opened my backpack and gave them a peek of my ropes like I were showing them a flash of thousands of dollars from some bank I had just robbed.
"Oooooh!" They followed up after seeing the ropes, "I haven't jumped in so long- break em out!"
I unzipped my back and unfurled my ropes as if they were exotic whips and before they had a chance to rest on the ground the girls grabbed each end and were waiting for me to begin jumping. Since I've been practicing a lot lately and since the girls at each end were pro-turners I was able to jump right in and go a few skips before fumbling up and stepping on the ropes.
The crowd sitting on the steps of Union Square cheered and hollered and I took the ropes and began turning for the yellow-and-pink dressed girl with the blue eyeshadow and matching pink flip phone.
Now in our short amount of speaking she had told me that it was "years since she last jumped" but as if instinct she got through the ropes and was stomping the cockroach like a pro who had been double-dutching just hours before our meeting. I don't get what that is? Is it something as simple as the black vs. white thing? I feel comfortable asking this with no hesitations because in my recent previous double-dutching experiences I heard a mother say to her daughter, "girl you got this- it's part of being Black." So I figure it might be as simple as that.
Of course, pink-and-yellow's friend was just as good as she was and they kept encouraging me to go at it again. Despite the fact I already felt defeated having practiced jumping for 2+ months and only being able to do the running man and the begins of a turn-move, I figured, "what the hell?" and jumped in. They were excellent turners so I jumped at the chance to be cocky. I was there, in the center of union square, doing a full-on fast toed running man and just when I got the rhythm down I sprung up for a jump, turned my body 180 degrees in the air and CRACK- landed right on the side of my foot. I fell to the ground- the girls hooting and hollering at me for a job well done and giving it a good try. I smiled and tried to ignore the pain. I got up- ouch- but figured I could walk it off.
The girls gave a few more rounds with me turning but eventually two massive men came by and literally picked the girls up and carried them away from me. "Byeeeee! Thaaaaaaanks," Pink-and-Yell0w shouted from over her boyfriend's shoulder.
"Anytime," I responded smiling and limping down the shallow steps.
"What to do now?" I thought. I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket and got a text from Jason which said, "What up home boy? Eagle packed! Come by- we're on the roof."
I looked to the East, "Union Square is close to home but not THAT close and I'm more close to The Eagle now than if I were at home... maybe I should just go?"
I looked down to my foot.
"My foot does hurt, but come on- this is the summer and it's late Saturday night with the options of countless familiar and unfamiliar shirtless men drinking beer in the open air....Yup, I can walk this off."
And I did. I jumped the M14 crosstown bus and made my way over to the Eagle. By 3AM, 3beers and a shot later I had forgotten all about my foot. So much so, by the time I left and made it to my bedroom I had completely forgotten to even ice the swelling. I closed my eyes. Sleep.
"Holy Shit - my foot!" is the first thought that crossed my mind as soon as my body and mind were awake. I could hardly lift my foot off the bed let alone walk! Eric, The Roommate was away in Philly, Jason Upstairs was in The Hamptons, Randee's away at the Michigan Womyn's Fest.... "I ain't got nobody help me!"
"East village- East Village? Who do I know in the East Village? Josh- Josh is home! I know that for sure." I called up Josh and he answered the phone groggy and sleepy, "Hey Josh- I think I need your help- you know where I can get crutches?" I explained the story to him and he more or less dismissed me as a hot-mess but said he'd help if I needed him. I hobbled my way painfully around my apartment, got dressed and very carefully held tight to the railing and made my way down the four flights of my walk-up apartment.
I got out to the street and already needed a rest. I sat on my stoop collecting my courage and called Josh. He was ready and I told him it was possible for me to meet him on his street. It took me twelve minutes to go from 11th St. to 6th St. with much thanks to the three block long fence around Thompkins Square Park. Josh met me on the corner of his street and I threw my arm around him singing, "That's what friends are for...."
He brought me to the pharmacy where I purchased crutches for $30 and where the pharmacist told me it definitely wasn't broken (because it would all be black and blue and I'd be in tears) and told me, no joke, that I should pee on cotton balls and put them on my foot...? Josh and I both giggled like little girls upon hearing this.
I eventually made my way to the Emergency Room at St. Vincent's where after a 2+hour wait I was x-rayed and told my foot wasn't broken it was just a bad sprain. I was relieved and double relieved when the doctor said my crappy "Freelancers Insurance" paid for everything. I wasn't happy though when the doctor brought out a pair of new crutches and said I'd have to be on them for a week.
"A week," I groaned, "But I feel like a pussy using these!"
"Well," my doctor responded, shooting me a look, "You can feel like a pussy for a week and let this heal in 10 days, or you can not use the crutches at all, and let this minor injury heal in a month."
"Fair enough," I said as I hobbled my way out of the ER and once outside, thumbed through my cell phone for any friend I could count on for having extra Vicodin.
So, no jumping rope, no skateboarding, no gym, no cardio, no unnecessary activity for the whole next week... Wish.me.luck! Grumble!
To salute my double-dutch love and my injury please enjoy the video below of Bobbie, Kianna, Daynna, Jade and Antingue performing as Group 16 to the lyrics "All the girls in the hood doin' double-dutch..." There's a little Chicken-Noodle Soup (with a soda on the side) mixed in there as well. Enjoy!
*Note: I don't know what the hell this is but I LOVE it! Don't you want to be them?
...Just in case anybody felt the need to hit the panic button when the CDC announced their annual estimate of 40,000 people infected by HIV per year is actually around 55,0000...Don't! There's no need to.
Just to be clear- this doesn't mean there are any new increases or spikes in infection rates, all it means is now that the CDC has better testing procedures and models the estimated 40,000 cases, is and has been, higher than originally perceived. The number of infections per year have maintained relatively the same it's just higher than the CDC initially thought based on old models and testing procedures.
The country had roughly 56,300 new HIV infections in 2006 - a dramatic increase from the 40,000 annual estimate used for the last dozen years. The new figure is due to a better blood test and new statistical methods, and not a worsening of the epidemic, officials said.On one hand this can be looked at as good news because the CDC has better testing capabilities and thus a clearer picture of the epidemic and where it's heading. On the other hand, 56,000 is still a fuck-load of infections per year.
It's important to note that more than half of these infections are amongst gay and bisexual men and one-third are happening to men under 30.
Some experts celebrated that finding, saying it’s a tribute to prevention efforts, including nearly 200 syringe exchange programs now operating in 36 states despite a federal ban on funding for such projects.Again, as always, to keep these numbers down- keep this conversation on the table, respect yourself and your partner, communicate and use condoms. Easy enough.
But they also lamented the CDC’s finding that infections continue to increase in gay and bisexual men, who accounted for more than half of HIV infections in 2006. Also, more than a third of those with HIV are younger than 30.
....Some said more attention needs to focus on prevention among blacks, who account for nearly half of annual HIV infections, according to the new CDC report.
Reading these articles and sifting through the statistics is never a fun nor easy task. In one of my previous posts entitled: "Serosorting, Barebackers, +'s and %'s Oh My!" I tackle the subject of the often hard-to-decipher statistical HIV reporting.
Friday, August 1, 2008
After all this time of living in America I can finally say I've contributed to something!
Turns out America leads the way in tobacco, pot and cocaine consumption! Americans even have a higher usage rate than people who live in countries where pot and other drugs are legal! Who would have thunk it?! Chant with me! "Number 1! Number 1!"
Please, by all means, celebrate your patriotism this weekend by pulling that glass bong out of your closet and take a big ol' rip for Uncle Sam and the good old Red, White and Blue!
According to a new study released June 30 by the World Health Organization, the U.S. leads the world and -- just in time for the Olympics -- takes the gold for the use of tobacco, pot, and cocaine, far outpacing other countries, even the Netherlands, where drug laws are far less draconian. In the U.S., more than 42% in the study admit having used marijuana, and 16% admit having used cocaine -- a cocaine-use rate four times that of New Zealand, which ranked No. 2 out of 17 countries surveyed.
For this first cross-national drug-use study, WHO researchers surveyed more than 54,000 people in the Americas (the U.S., Mexico, and Colombia), Europe (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and Ukraine), the Middle East and Africa (Israel, Lebanon, Nigeria, and South Africa), Asia (Japan and China), and Oceania (New Zealand), using a standardized methodology. While WHO researchers determined that drug use is more prevalent in wealthier countries, researchers determined that income does not have a "static" effect on drug use. Overall, researchers found the greatest involvement with all drugs by younger people and "remarkable similarity" across the countries surveyed in the "age of onset" of use. Typically, alcohol and tobacco use begins earliest (between 16 and 19 years of age), followed by pot use (around 18), and coke (typically between 21 and 24).
While income and age may be factors determining drug use, it appears that a country's drug policies have little impact on use. "Globally, drug use is not distributed evenly and is not simply related to drug policy, since countries with stringent user-level illegal drug policies did not have lower levels of use than countries with liberal ones." Indeed. The U.S., with its harsh user penalties, outpaced all other countries on use of pot and coke -- way beyond even the Netherlands, where legal action is not taken for pot possession for personal use. There, just 19.8% of the population has even tried marijuana, and just 1.9% of the population has tried cocaine. Only New Zealand comes close to the U.S. in the number of folks who have ever tried pot, with just under 42%. The U.S. far outpaced other countries in coke use too, with 16.2% of respondents having tried the drug; New Zealand posted a 4.3% lifetime coke-use rate. Colombia, the only coke-producing nation on the list, came in fourth (tied with Mexico) with a 4% lifetime use rate. Only in alcohol use was the U.S. tossed out of the top spot: We took sixth place, while Ukraine took gold with 97% alcohol use. Germany garnered the silver, with 95.3%, while New Zealand, otherwise -- apparently, our drug-use sister country, imagine the cultural exchange possibilities! -- took the bronze, with 94.8%.