Thursday, December 31, 2009
It's been ten years. Ten years and I feel like I've lived three life times by now. Ten years of life, adventure, experience, regrets, mistakes, men, sex, parties, dates, relationships, single life, bars, states, countries, cities, money, no money, gym, lift, fat, skinny, healthy, sick, angry, happy. So much can happen in ten years. Had you grabbed me by my hemp necklace then and told me all I'd experience by now, I'd have laughed in your face (and then probably offered you a brownie.)
I'll be 38 on December 31st 2019 and I have no ability to predict what will happen between now and then. I'll be a man. A full grown man. The point of no return so far from visibility. A distant memory of the days that were. A buoy in a fog so excruciatingly dense. The thought alone makes me eager and terrified. Life just keeps pushing forward. There's no stopping it - you just have to go along for the ride.
In ten years I went from young to younger to man. The full scale of my blind evolution so blatantly clear now in hindsight. My heart splits at the vision. I grasp at the ghosts of that child but as much as I may try, I will never hold that boy again. He's gone, now molded into what you have before you. Oh young man, from where have you come and where will you go? Forward, the only direction, the past, stones on which we walk.
Life is so fragile. So wretchedly fragile and in 100 years we'll all be dust. Is it not this fact alone that is this planet's greatest invitation for us to live our lives? To be the man we want to become? To live as freely or as wildly or as sane as we'd like? This Earth will keep turning, and turning, and turning, with or without us. We are a speck in a broad stroke of history. A tiny, worthless crumb on the table of time and when the time comes, and it will indeed come, we will be bones in the ground or ashes to the sky and yet this Earth will still turn and turn and turn. So live as you live and accept this next decade with an open chest. Allow light to beam through you offering whatever it may be. Be open, for anything else would be a simple, silly waste of time. These years are blurred at best. A flimsy, horse-haired bow of an arch between then and now, and now and then. The future so weighed down by tangibility yet light and translucent like the very air we breathe. We know it exists but we just can't see it!
So strong this younger self I shed, each passing day, each step erasing the previous. Five steps now, ten and I'm ancient.
Monday, December 21, 2009
I sat at the Starbucks on the corner of Fairfax Avenue and Santa Monica Blvd., just a few blocks north of where I used to live and sipped an iced coffee while I watched the cars zoom by. Every time a car would fly through the intersection I would startle and tense up because they were just missing, by mere inches, the cars on the other side waiting their left turn. I couldn’t believe the speed of some of these drivers. Everyone seemed so busy, speeding terribly and half talking on their “no-hands” gadgets. I forgot too, how expensive and new looking so many cars were and that also left me puzzled about the drivers’ seemingly desperate need to speed. Wouldn’t they want to be more careful? Wouldn’t they want to slow down, just a bit, to ensure the safety and condition of their cars? After all, it’s just a matter of inches between safety and collision. Four inches making all the difference between smooth sailing or a body flying through the windshield. Inches. Just inches and seconds. Life and death. Everybody’s got to go somewhere, sometime, I guessed.
The intersection of Santa Monica Blvd. and Fairfax Ave. is just on the edge of gay-town West Hollywood. That said, the fence sectioning off the outdoor patio of Starbucks where I was sitting was painted rainbow. A blue SUV with 3 men in their mid-twenties stopped at the light and snickered, pointing at the rainbow colored fence. Maybe it was the traffic, the sound of the cars driving by or maybe even because of the book I was reading but I drifted off into a terror-fantasy world, thinking that if these men wanted, they could pack their car full of explosives and detonate it right here at the edge of the fence. The impact would obliterate me in milliseconds and everything would be over. There would be nothing left. I would be dead. Finished. Gone. All of it happening before the smoke even had a chance to clear.
The fantasy reminded me of the time Eric-the-Roommate and I were driving down Beverly Blvd. and talking about terrorism.
“Really, the bombs are all for show,” he said driving west past the Beverly Center, a huge urban mega-plex of a mall. “Terrorism can exist in any form. The bombs are just sudden and impactful but really anyone can stick an Uzi in each hand and walk into a place like the Beverly Center and just mow people down.”
The light turned green outside of Starbucks and the blue SUV drove past pulling me out of my memories. I sat in the sun for a while, thumbing the pages of my book but not wanting to open it. It was too noisy, the sun just a little too hot and I was distracted.
An elderly woman walked across Santa Monica Blvd. and without ordering a drink or even stepping inside pulled up a chair at the table next to me. Earlier a homeless woman with stringy blond hair and pants falling below her waist had bummed a smoke from a seated customer so I assumed this was a frequent sit-and-rest for the wayward and destitute. The elderly woman took a few breaths and popped open an umbrella to shield herself from the sun. I studied her briefly. At first I thought she was a bag lady but after further scrutiny realized she was simply an old lady with an arsenal of shopping bags and a pushcart. The elderly were frequent in this neighborhood. This neighborhood is one of the rare walkable areas of LA and so it was littered with old age homes and retirement centers. She noticed me noticing her and smiled through decaying teeth to say hello. I said hello and turned my head back to the street. I felt her studying me.
“What book are you reading? Are you enjoying it,” she asked. I wasn’t really in the mood to talk with anyone, especially an off-the-street crazy, but I smiled and said, “I don’t know if enjoying would be the right word but yes it’s very good. It’s called Afterlife by Paul Monette.”
“Oh is that something you’re interested in – the afterlife?”
“I suppose, but the book isn’t about that after life. It’s more about the lives of people after someone close to them dies.” I just went for it. “The book is about the 1980’s, set right here in West Hollywood, actually and everyone is dying of AIDS.”
“Oh yes,” she replied quickly, “I remember those times. They were very tough. I remember asking, “how long is this going to last?” I was surprised at her response. How she had said everything so casually as if the time period and the subject matter of the book was something that was just yesterday for her. Maybe she too had lost a friend, read the newspapers or was in someway affected. Despite her verge of bag-lady appearance it was clear she had more of a mind than I assumed.
“I just lost my husband a few years ago and oh, the grief is so hard! It takes forever to get over. Sometimes you just don’t think it will end. I had no idea what I was going to do without him. But time goes by and slowly things get better. Life writes itself. But the loss, the loss is never filled. That’s the part that stays with you.”
I absorbed what she was saying. She closed her umbrella and began to get up to leave. “You just make sure you live every day to its fullest. You appreciate what you have.”
“I always do,” I said, “I have shoes on my feet and water when I want it and a roof over my head which is more than I can say for millions of people on this planet. I should only be so lucky to have a problem, right? Life’s too short so I appreciate it very much."
“That’s right, my dear.” She smiled and left.
As I watched her leave I thought about grief. About how I dip into and out of it like a familiar friend I choose to hang with from time to time. I know this feeling. This comfortable sense of loss, of mourning. Holding the book in my hand and staring out at the cars I couldn’t decipher which I grieve more. The dent in our community caused by AIDS, the deaths of all those men and the havoc I wasn’t able to experience. Or is that indescribable black heavy pit of our community’s nonchalance toward those times that were, how we seemed to have learned nothing and in some ways are denying AIDS’ very existence.
I thought about the first sentence of the book: “If everyone hadn’t died at the same time, none of this would have happened” and, later on, “he knew they were laying in comas all over the city.” I swirled in my grief. Hello friend. How have you been? Is it that loss, that unforgettable unfilled crater or is it where we are now?
Just the other night at The Eagle’s wet underwear contest while the contestants were doing the Q&A portion of the show someone from the audience yelled out, “Bareback or condoms?” The MC ignored the catcall by casually giggling. But the man who had yelled the question was hoping that one, if not all four contestants, would say bareback as if in today’s world this revolution against the condom, against the very thing that protects our well being, should be celebrated as something cool or edgy or fringe. This is where we are now - our bright hopeful future.
I felt the buzz of my cell phone in my pocket. Bret was finished with the gym and he was ready to pick me up. He pulled up to the corner of the intersection and I climbed into the car. He flew through the intersection like the other cars I had seen and as we drove home I felt my fingernails digging into the rubber door handles.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
from David B. Feinberg's book, Eighty-Sixed:
Friday, December 4, 2009
Let's make a few things clear: I don't watch American Idol. I don't know who Adam Lambert is. I don't care who Adam Lambert is. I don't listen to his music. I don't really care that he's gay and apparently neither does he. Several times Lambert has gone on the record to distance himself from representing or wanting to have anything to do with the gay community saying that he's his own person and his music and choices are his own and blah blah blah blah blah... From his Entertainment Weekly Interview:
"I can talk about relationships and personal experiences because as an artist those things involve writing lyrics and that part of my process. But I didn’t feel comfortable talking about the March on Washington. I didn’t feel comfortable, so I asked my publicist to ask the interviewer to stay away from the political questions. I take full responsibility for that. I think that the editor has his agenda and has his opinions, which I respect, but they’re not necessarily my opinions. And I wish there was a little respect for that. Not every gay man is the same gay man."
So Adam Lambert gets on stage on the night of the American Music Awards and in an unrehearsed move simulates oral sex with one of his male dancers and then kisses his male keyboard player. Ooooh shocking! Soon there's censoring and edits and blurs. The network is outraged. The gays are outraged. The Christians are outraged. Everybody is outraged! Please, get a grip, and if you need some proof that the the stunt was unrehearsed then go visit the Chicken Littles at GLAAD and lick it up baby, lick it up:
"Given the live nature of the American Music Awards, Adam Lambert’s performance, which differed greatly from his rehearsal, caught many, including the network, off guard. This is not a question of Lambert’s sexual orientation. As is evidenced by GLAAD’s media report card, ABC is at the forefront of positive gay and lesbian portrayal on television."
While everyone is freaking out the issue of double standards and the famous Britney/
Let's just make another thing clear: The American Music Awards are on the prime time national network ABC while the Madonna/Britney kiss was on the Video Music Awards on MTV. These are two totally separate networks with two totally separate standards and practices and two totally different demographics! MTV can get away with things like sudden or rehearsed lezbo kissing. ABC, well they have a little more red tape than that.
First, let's just admit overall, gay or straight, that Lambert's stunt was simply inappropriate. Ok? Whether it's Pink, Madonna, Britney, Adam Lambert, male on female, male on male or female on female, gay or straight, simulating oral sex on a nationally televised primetime broadcast just doesn't make any sense. It's just not appropriate. I know we Americans are desensitized to everything and our media has comfortably settled within a proud norm of mediocrity complete with low-level morals but there should be some standards for these obviously pointless, gratuitous actions. Yes, double standards exist. Boo-hoo. They always existed and despite how hard we fight, they will continue to exist. Double standards are a fact of life. But, if done appropriately or subtly, I do believe one has the ability to blur the lines of what we consider double standards. (See also: David Bowie, Boy George, Marylin Manson, Grace Jones, etc...) If Lambert's "dance" wasn't so off-the-cuff, aggressive and out of the blue I don't think we'd be having this conversation. I'm not saying he should have donned a tuxedo, took a man by the hand and pecked him on the cheek but he could have gone at this from a different angle.
At least Britney and Madonna's kiss had a certain class to it. A certain, mesh to it all. Their kiss was a simple, subtle, like a little exclamation point to the end of their performance. Lambert's was sloppy, awkward, tactless and seemingly came from nowhere. His music nor choreography lead up to any crescendo which would call for that type of action and suddenly he's trying to defend himself? Please. If the Britney/Madonna kiss never existed Lambert would have no defense to stand on - or - had the female pop kiss not happened, his actions might have served a greater purpose or at least pushed the envelope. But instead, it just stood as utterly pointless with low-rent shock value. A cutesy stunt that blew up in his face. I would be less critical of Lambert if his actions had anything to do with his song, performance or talent. If it worked together in any way. But really I believe we're just using this double standard nonsense as a means to defend him from his stupid, sloppy behavior.
I wonder how ABC would have reacted if Lambert came to them wanting to include some form of homoerotic element to his performance? Maybe it would have been a little watered down and safe but we certainly wouldn't have ended up with this tumbleweed of nonsense news and the backlash we "not represented by Lambert" gays receive.
When Politician Larry Craig was busted using "gay cruising techniques" in a public toilet, me, my friends, and the gay community's reputation were dragged through the dirt as though we as a whole use these public bathroom cruising tactics as a means to pick up men. I never cruised public bathrooms and neither have my friends but suddenly this desperate "straight" guy taints my community and lifestyle with his reckless actions. Unfair as it is, much like a double standard, people will feel as though this is something "we" do, something "we" support. Lambert's actions accumulate to much the same. Here we are on the brink of marriage equality and all the sudden, a gay guy who wants nothing to do with representing the gay community, represents us in the silliest way possible. In the end, many people of this nation don't see Lambert as an "artist," they see him as just another faggot wearing eyeliner. There are people in this country actually sitting on the fence about marriage equality. People just undecided enough that a stunt like Lambert's makes them get up and walk to the other side. "See! That's what I'm talking about - they want to shove it in our faces! This is what our world will be if marriage becomes equal! This is the side effect of the liberal homo agenda" (insert dramatic music.) If Lambert wants to break that double standard of not being just another faggot wearing eyeliner than simulating oral sex on stage, in front of America, while being completely uncalled for, is not going to help that.
Now I'm not looking for a place at the table. I'm not saying we all need to behave and act like gentlemen or dress nicely or act straight or anything like that. I'm not telling Lambert to pack it up and take off the make up but what I am saying is I'm not going to support him just because he's gay. After all, he's an "individual," right? He should just focus on his music and career and prove to America that he's actually talented and not try to be some Reality-made provocateur. As if!
The stunt was inappropriate, bottom line. To me this doesn't really have anything to do with gay or straight but since Madonna and Britney got away with it then everything has to be accepted, right? Right?! Come on, are we really going to throw this example and that example back and forth to defend this guy from yet another "wardrobe malfunction?"
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I'm no stranger to the road. Before this trip I had driven across the country twelve times. I've seen the way the land changes from green to yellow to dry to sea all to come back to itself again. I have felt the surging rush of freedom upon realizing the control we have over our own lives and destinies. As long as we have the courage we can hit this open road which disparately calls our names, encouraging us to be whoever we want, wherever we want, whenever we want. But what I would learn on this trip would be something much more - something I never thought I was capable of experiencing. A compassion I never thought I had.
When driving across the country you don't see much: Applebee's, strip malls, Waffle Houses, cheap hotels, grease, fried, fat, obese, Jesus and Red, White and Blue. But, there is a cliche that rings true; that beauty is within the detail and it is only when you pull off the main roads that you'll find the little gems within this huge nation.
I never thought I belonged in the South - what's a born and bred East Coast gay Jew supposed to think? But now, after my travels I have an understanding, appreciation and respect for the land I thought had no desire for my kind. Here in NYC in our ivory bubble it's easy to cast stones. After all, it is we who live in an multi-cultural urban megaplex! It is we who are so attuned to art and culture and life but unfortunately, it is we who often believe our own assumptions as to what this nation is and who our neighbors are. The South really isn't that different. It is not as backwards and red neck as we assume it is and in the end we're all just Americans and none of us are really that far apart from one another. We all want the same thing. Money and happiness. Or, at least enough money to afford us happiness. That's it. Throw in a few close family members and friends, a hobby or two and what do you have? An American.
In this city I have been pushed and shoved and rushed and shushed. I have had eyes rolling at me, breaths exasperated at me and in turn I have done it all back to someone else. Just a few days ago I nearly karate chopped an elderly woman for going down the subway stairs too slowly causing me to miss my train. Did she have to walk right down the center of the stairs? Why is she even taking the subway anyway? I fumed these thoughts as I shuffled the little bits of trash off the platform and onto the tracks. Then I thought there is not this rush elsewhere in this nation, this is just a tax for living in this city.
In the South I was never pushed or rushed or shushed. Life moves at a slower more temperate pace there and thus the need for the "me first!" mentality is limited. Neighbors say hi, communities work together and the lady selling boiled peanuts on the side of the road genuinely wants to know how you're doing. Yes *some* Southerns have different views on race, religion and sexuality. Yes, many of them do not support what we call our liberal free lifestyle but in the end how accepting are we of them? How willing are we to be dismissive when we hear someone say that they're from Overland Park, Kansas or Lynchberg, Tennessee or that they go to Church every Sunday? Besides, isn't it this great big urban melting pot that denied me and my friends our right to marry just yesterday?
Throughout the Southern states I experienced a level of hospitality and compassion I never knew existed. At every turn I was offered a hot meal, a great handshake and there was always, always, an extra room at a house if I needed to stay. And trust me, they knew. In the end, I'm not that butch and really I'm only one quick google search away from total exposure. Some people in the south may say that they hate the sin but love the sinner and whatever the case may be they have the right to do so. But for the people I met and the eyes I looked into I felt we shared one common bond; that of being human. I didn't wave a flag, I didn't stamp my feet, I didn't scream at the top of my lungs. I was simply just myself and appreciated I was.
So after 8,700 miles, 20 states and now back to my home in NYC where does this leave me? Who am I now? I never considered myself a "blogger" or an "activist" rather, I just liked being someone who was interested in things I cared about. Sure I screamed, sure I was opinionated, sure I was a blind-talking anti-republican rantivist, and for sure, I've certainly made my stance on safe sex, HIV/AIDS and barebacking clear. But as I've said before, blogging is like a homework assignment that is always due and never done and what makes doing that assignment even more laborious is when you spend time fighting for a community so willing to tear you down. Throughout my posts I've been called "belligerent," "stuck on my high horse," "judgemental" a "hypocrite" and the list goes on. Mostly I've used that as fuel to extend my middle finger even higher but I've tried very hard to pander to everyone and I know that is just not possible. I'm sure right now the commenters on gay blogs or Joe.My.God are slaughtering one another with exclamation marks and bold face font about how stupid everyone is and how stupid the last protest was or how much conservatives should suffer or how ineffective the latest grass roots campaign was. Everyone's a fucking genius, right? Everyone is wrong - YOU have the correct answer, right? Sure, whatever. Eat each other alive, it seems to be what we do best.
So here's my plan: I'm just going to continue being human and being myself. I'll post when I want to and say what I want to. I am going to try to find that human compassion in all of us and continue walking down this road which keeps unraveling itself before me.
Monday, September 28, 2009
"What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? — it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies."
Friday, September 18, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Tucson, Arizona- September 11th 2001: Between 6 and 7AM
Nokia original sized cell phone ringing on my night stand. Don, "Eric, we're under attack. The Twin Towers have been hit! Call your sisters! They live in the city, right?" I couldn't get through. Not for several hours but Mom said they were fine.
After watching TV I wasn't sure if classes were canceled for the day but I walked to campus regardless. A ghost town. Whispers, muffled noise and even an more desolate, dried and thirsty Tucson. A University devoid of youth.
As far west as Tucson, AZ one of the first things I remember seeing was a fellow classmate, outside the English Lit. building, alone and draped in an American flag.
Friday, September 4, 2009
I'm currently bouncing around the nation for work. I've driven through 8 states: Virgina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada over three days. This makes my 8th cross country road trip and never once have I taken the same route. Stories, pictures, whatever coming soon but for now I don't have much to report other than having tried to call into the Michaelangelo Signorelli show on Sirius Out Q Radio while driving through Oklahoma and couldn't get through, but the bottom line is: Go to the National Equality March!!
In the meantime enjoy these demented videos I found:
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Lively, sometimes loud debate; passionate viewpoints accentuated by applause from the crowd; and skepticism towards the establishment’s ability to effectively advocate for public health. It sounds like a contentious town hall event in which the proposed health care overhaul takes a beating--but it was, in fact, an August 13th public forum sponsored in New York City by the nation’s oldest and largest private AIDS service organization, Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC).The article goes on to state the organizers decided to lose the term "barebacking" and go with the generalized term "raw" in talking about condom-less sex.
Certainly, it’s understandable why high passion would have erupted at a discussion of the most sensitive topic among gay men today: barebacking. Although its topic was every bit as divisive as Obama’s sweeping initiative, the event managed to demonstrate that the town hall format need not devolve into a shouting match.
Actually, it technically wasn’t about "barebacking," at least if the organizers could help it. The conclave’s premise was that the term "barebacking" unfairly stigmatizes gay men who have unprotected sex.I'm glad the organizers of this event chose to use raw instead of barebacking, although in the end I'm afraid it doesn't make too much of a difference either way. But as I've stated in the past, it's important to note there is a difference between men who "ooops! slipped up" and men who are committed to not using condoms. Those committed to not using condoms, barebackers, often over shadow those individuals who slipped up, or made a mistake, or didn't use their best judgement and the general and medical community fault them for "deserving what they got" opposed to being compassionate about the human capacity to make a mistake.
GMHC’s organizers instead chose the no less provocative but apparently more acceptable term "raw" as the title of the event.
Through my speaking out on this topic I've also learned that I have to be abso-fucking-lutely clear about abso-fucking-lutely everything and just because you and your long term boyfriend decide to forgo condoms, after testing together for at least a year and trusting you won't put one another at risk (although it happens more than one would think) does not make you a barebaker, you're just having condom-less sex with someone you're committed to (in one way or another.) Also, if you're an HIV+ man and choosing to have consensually agreed upon condom-less sex with another HIV+ man than that's fine and that's your decision. There are other risks involved, but as long as there has been communication, than that's your decision. No harm, no foul. You talked, you decided, it's done. The problem isn't positive men infecting negative men, the problem is "negative men" (men who don't know their status) having unprotected sex with other negative men. That's why I feel our "bareback porn is so hot!" seal of approval these days is a major issue because men will say and/or think: he looks negative, he seems ok, he would have told me, or just not care at all.
Many in the audience who got the chance to speak held the community itself responsible for assuming the burden of outreach and education. They said they neither wanted, nor expected, the organizations represented by the panelists to work miracles on their own.These organizations are working hard. They're out there. Working in non-profits, doing outreach, doing what they can but ultimately it's up to us to continue speaking out about this topic in order to effect the change we want to see in this community.
Bareback, raw, whatever you call it - the bottom line is just communicate with your partner and wear condoms. I can't believe we're even having panel discussions on bareback issues when the the end result is to just simply communicate and put on a rubber. Give a shit about yourself, consider yourself worth it! Study after study, report after report the answer is always wear a condom. You.are.worth.it! We are worth it.
For more information and other great articles check out:
Ouch! The Painful Politics of Bareback Porn written by Sister of Perpetual Indulgence Activist and porn producer, Mark Kliem
Monday, August 24, 2009
I can only hope so! In my opinion NYC gay nightlife took a harder hit than expected when The Roxy closed. Things certainly haven't been the same. Smaller venues, less dancing. Blech! It's a sad era in NYC when the gay men here have no arena sized dance floor to call our own nor a means to represent our enormous presence here in this city.
Whether you went there or not, often or hardly at all, The Roxy was a place where on any given Saturday night you could lose yourself in a sea of men and a throbbing beat that kept you dancing til dawn.
Stepping on to that dance floor made you feel like - - - like you lived in New York City.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
I've never done drag before and I don't even know if one would consider my ten minute walk through a house party in a leather dress as official drag, but regardless it was the first time I said, "oh what the fuck," and let some stellar, creatively-minded, kind-hearted fashion queens dress me up like I was their Freshman year fashion project.
I knew photos were being taken and I knew the inevitable Facebook upload was waiting just around the corner. I asked that they not tag me. But I knew sooner than later the tagging would happen so rather than hide from it I'm deciding to simply own it. What's the big deal anyway? It's just a man in a dress.
So yes, I zipped myself up, pranced around the house and tried my best to do any and all kinds of catwalk struts. For at least two minutes I held on to a comrade's shoulder as I wobbled through learning process of the knack of heel, toe - heel, toe stepping. And you know what? It felt fabulous.
That's right. My hairy ass got into a leather tight mini skirt zip up dress, I threw a fur bracelet on my left wrist, and walked like the world was mine and if you have a problem with this, then you can talk to the spike of my size 12 patent leather black high heel.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
My beastly friend Eyal "Cut-From-Stone" Feldman will be one of the 30 participants to brave the 3 1/2 (against the current with the threat of an oncoming hurricane!) mile swim and has been training for weeks. He's ready to jump in the water and from what I hear he's shaping up like Beowulf so it ain't gonna be no thang. Trrrust. (Score one for the 10th grade English lit analogy! w00t! Mr. Miller where are you?! Your name is totally ungoogleable! He was so hot. So hot.)
Below is Eyal, Owner and Founder of Boy Butter Lubes, throwing out some info about Saturday's event:
Theodore Olson, the Republican Lawyer who helped
The New York Times reports:
While Mr. Olson came to the case by a serendipitous route that began late last year with Rob Reiner, a Hollywood director widely known for his Democratic activism, he said his support of same-sex marriage stemmed from longstanding personal and legal conviction. He sees nothing inconsistent with that stance and his devotion to conservative legal causes: The same antipathy toward government discrimination, he said, inspired him to take up another cause that many on the right applauded — a lengthy campaign to dismantle affirmative action programs.Lately I've been coming into a lot of contact with several socially progressive conservative thinkers. Meaning, I've been meeting a lot of people who are socially forward, yet too economically focused and conservatively opinionated, to vote for Obama or even Democratically for that matter.
A hearing in the marriage case, filed on behalf of two gay couples, is scheduled for Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco. Practicing his opening argument recently, Mr. Olson declared that California’s ban is “utterly without justification” and stigmatizes gay men and lesbians as “second-class and unworthy.”“This case,” he said afterward, “could involve the rights and happiness and equal treatment of millions of people.”
These people are both gay and straight alike and I often say to them, "I understand you have different conservative stances and fiscal opinions but can't you see by voting Republican you are inadvertently tugging along the most ignorant, arrogant, racist people (the right of the right) to maintain power in this nation, feel righteous and absolved?" Although I seem capable of putting this algorithm together, they see it from a different perspective. They believe change will happen by being within the party more than it will from being on the outside, where the same Dem Vs. Repub tit-for-tat argument will inevitably continue to churn and churn and churn. These socially progressive but republican voting gays and straights feel as though they are welcomed to sit at the Republican table while I think, "well you may be welcomed to the table but that doesn't mean they're not going to spit in your food nor swipe the chair out from under you," but still it's becoming increasingly more obvious that we have to find friends within the red party to help further the gay community's cause. It's a hard pill to swallow but a necessary one.
If Theodore Olson, the man who was a saint to Bush administration, is now arguing for the gay cause, while also looking at the case from an completely non-objective human rights standpoint, then maybe this will help us in the end? I'm not entirely sold, but what's the harm in continuing my low expectations for hope anyway?
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
"Once a year, spokespersons on behalf of the gay community are requested to explain why we insist on the pride parade; so here is the answer. There are those who fan the flames of hatred and homophobia, and the outcome may lead to gunfire. Here is your answer, this is the reason: Because they shoot at us. At times they use words, and other times they use bullets."
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Brian and David B. over at The Occasional Fag hosted Will Clark and I on their Pod Cast to talk about the IML No-more-bareback-issue which recently came down the pipes.
I thought we had a great conversation. We touch upon a lot of topics surrounding this current event and other talking points which are inextricably entwined to the
unsafe bareback sex topic.
Listen in: Click here for the pod cast.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Eric the Roommate and I have known one another since we were 10 years old. We went to elementary school, Junior High and High School together. We've lived in Los Angeles together for two years and now New York for close to three. He's the closest thing I've ever had to a brother and low-and-behold he's straight! He's my best friend in the world and he wanted to contribute a little straight perspective to KnuckleCrack.
Also please note that Eric's band, Xylos, was featured in L Magazine as one of the "8 New York City bands you need to hear." Xylos is playing tonight at Mercury Lounge.
Hi, I'm Eric the Roommate. You can often spot me strolling the streets of the East Village with KnuckleCrack, en route to brunch or a early-evening cocktail or some other urban locale. And more often than not you would assume that I am the gay one and that KnuckleCrack is your salt-of-the-Earth, flat-tire changing, football-watching, beer-shotgunning butch American straight guy. But alas, you would be mistaken, for it is I, Eric the Roommate, that prefers the ladies (despite the cut-off shorts and wife-beaters I've taken to wearing).
Having lived in close company to one of this city's (and Los Angeles') most loudly growling cubs for over five years, I have learned quite a bit about the gay lifestyle, when it comes to sex (not from firsthand experience, mind you, but rather via KnuckleCrack's sagas of courtship and love).
And, as a straight man, I can say confidently.... I'M JEALOUS!
What am I jealous of, you might ask? I got the good looks (so he tells me.) Sick-tight gym body, check. Loads of money, check (I wish!) Razor-sharp wit... oh yes, my friend. But yes, I am jealous. Jealous of the manner in which gay men can circumvent the hackneyed social conventions of mating and dating and, when appropriate, revel in guilt-free carnal delight. And, as such, I have attempted, on occasion, to try my hand at the "direct approach," which has invariably yielded unsatisfactory results. For some reason unbeknownst to me, girls don't like to be asked, "So, wanna go have sex?" after leaving a bar. And this is what baffles me. Look at two scenarios:
1) It's 2:30am, Maggie (named changed to protect the innocent) and I are leaving the bar after a spontaneous, yet enjoyable hour of flirtatious talking. We get to the corner (very close to my apartment) and I ask, "So, wanna come over and have sex?" And I could tell by her reaction that she wanted to.... but, societal convention prevailed, and she responded, "Sounds fun, but maybe some other time."
2) It's 2:30am, Maggie and I are leaving the bar after a spontaneous, yet enjoyable hour of flirtatious talking. We get to the corner (very close to my apartment) and I ask, "So, want to come over for a glass of wine and to see some photos I took on my recent trip to the Amazonian rain forest?" "Sure!"
Scenario one... failure. Scenario two ends the next morning with French Press coffee, poached eggs, and English muffins.
The lesson? There is none... but if I were gay I wouldn't need to lie about having gone to the Amazonian rain forest. She never even asked to look at the photos anyway!
As KnuckleCrack says, "Be safe/have fun."
-Eric the Roommate
P.S. All the most beautiful men and women in NYC (KnuckleCrack included) will be at the Mercury Lounge tomorrow night to see my band Xylos. It's gonna be a sexy good time... myspace.com/xylos
Friday, July 24, 2009
Not only is Pom Wonderful packed with antioxidants but I also learned that it benefits erectile function. Rage!
Thanks Molly! Eric the Roommate and I are drinking the hell out of it!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Recently Wayne picked up the story of Michael Lucas' new porn entitled Men of Israel which is the first gay porn in history to feature an all Israeli cast. But as Wayne points out, it's a bigger historic moment than that because not only is this an all Israeli cast- it's an all Jewish cast. Oh.muy.GAWD! Are you dying?! I'm dying!!
Lucas admits to having two agendas here:
One: Hot gay men, porn.
Two: Striving to put Israel back on the map as a sexy tourist destination for both gay and straight travelers alike. Well, ok, mostly gay.
I wonder if there will be a character like Moses although instead of splitting the seas, he splits a, errr, nevermind...
This week, Michael Lucas is making what he calls “a bold move to promote Israeli culture and tourism.” His website extols the virtues of a country rich with natural wonders, intriguing museums, liberal politics, and friendly locals. More than a biblical theme park, Lucas’s Israel is a tourist destination, a place where lovely beaches beckon and muscle-bound men have sex with each other.
Lucas—a porn actor and director, and founder of the New York-based gay porn production company Lucas Entertainment—sees his new film Men of Israel as a tool, if you will, to promote tourism, at least among gay men. Before you laugh this off, know that it’s happened before, when the Bel Ami studio’s movies helped turn Prague into a major gay destination soon after the Iron Curtain fell, or when porn director Kristen Bjorn’s Australian trilogy put Sydney on the gay map nearly 20 years ago. The Russian-born Lucas has been ratcheting up the heat for weeks in anticipation of the film’s release tomorrow. His website—MenOfIsraelXXX.com—features still photos of the actors and excerpted video clips, as well as text explaining the performers’ biographies and Lucas’s Zionist motivations for making the film.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
View the project and listen in: It will give food for thought about the Pier Kids and the issues facing them and their surrounding residential West Village community.
Also, click here for a post I wrote last year entitled, "The Importance of the West Village and those God-Damned Christopher St. Kids" on the same subject.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Fresh off the digital pages of Will Clark's blog comes the story of IML President Chuck Renslow's refusal to continue including bareback vendors, videos and other bareback paraphernalia during next year's 2010 event:
I encourage you to go over to Will Clark and read his input on the matter. I really enjoyed reading what he had to say.
On behalf of International Mr. Leather, Inc., I would like to thank you for your past support and in particular for your participation as a vendor in our annual Leather Market. We are writing you today to inform you of a policy change affecting next year (2010) and all future markets.
Though we are now three decades into the HIV/AIDS epidemic, no cure has been found. The CDC and local health officials inform us that new infections are on the rise. And, while we have had some success developing medications that might make infection more manageable, that accomplishment comes at a price. Not having experienced the deaths - the loss of loved ones -- which preceded these medications, we have an entire generation who may not fully appreciate or comprehend the severity of the situation.
Too many in our community believe HIV/AIDS is curable or manageable. Too few understand that HIV/AIDS infections dominate life. We believe that it is our duty to inform and educate. Several years ago when “Meth” was the scourge of our community, IMLdrew a line in the sand and raised awareness and used all our influence to try and stop this addictive madness. As is the case with HIV/AIDS, we believe it is our further obligation to do everything in our power to prevent future infections.
To that end, after considerable discussion, the Executive Committee of International Mr. Leather has decided that it will no longer allow participation in the IMLLeather Market by any entity which promotes barebacking or distributes/sells any merchandise tending to promote or advocate barebacking. This restriction will also apply to distribution of gifts, post cards or any other information via our facilities. This policy takes effect immediately.
Chuck Renslow, President
International Mr. Leather
Here's my two cents: I know this won't immediately curb or ever put an end to
I know men have the ability, and right, to watch
This has always been about more than just sex.
This is taking a stand. Slowing down, knowing your risks, communicating, wearing a condom - all of that is taking a stand! This is yet another person putting their foot down, swimming upstream in his own fetish-based event declaring he will no longer participate or facilitate in the growing complacency toward unsafe sex in the gay community and HIV/AIDS. This is yet another person who actually cares how their actions impact a younger generation.
Hat's off, truly.
Now, Mr. Renslow could have participated and facilitated in the distribution of
Recently I got a promotional coupon from Manhunt.net offering me several free hours of profiling and online cruising. I hadn't been on since last summer when I deleted my account after we all caught wind of Old Man Crutchley (owner of the site) donating the civilian max of $2300 to the McCain campaign! Anyway, I signed up, created a name, put up my pics and stated my case.
The third email I got, that's right, the third email, was from a "neg top" who only prefers
As I've asked before: How this community could go from screaming "Silence = Death" to the casual, shrug-of-the-shoulders response of, "aww, come on..barebacking is hot" in what, 12,13,14 years? is something that will always bewilder me.
No, Mr. Neg Top, I don't want to meet you or any of your "buddies." I don't care how hot a time you think we could have by not using condoms and putting ourselves at risk. You don't give a shit about me and that turns me off much more than the
I am interested in men who understand that there is a younger, less exposed generation out there who could use some care and actual healthy guidance. I am interested in men who care. This is me putting my foot down.
This policy takes effect immediately.
(PS: Read my post here if you're wondering about all the crossed out
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
The letter below was dropped in my inbox a few days ago.
I recently attended the final Wednesday night meeting of Gay Male S/M Activists (GMSMA). That’s right, I said “final.” Finished. Done. It’s over. The organization’s annual meeting on Wednesday, June 17, 2009, was billed as a “celebration of GMSMA." What’s happening is that after decades of being a vibrant, thriving organization of gay men interested in learning about safe, sane and consensual s/m, GMSMA is now “transitioning” into a non-profit foundation. There will be no more Wednesday night programs.It's unfortunate when an organization such as this, where gay men can come together and learn "safe, sane and consensual" ways to broaden their sexual horizons comes to a close.
During its heyday, GMSMA had hundreds of members from not only New York City but from across the country and even from overseas. Regular meetings were held twice a month, and it was not uncommon for the third floor meeting room of the gay community center on West 13th Street to be jam packed with dozens or even 100 or more men eager to learn and to socialize. One night the topic might be how to tie up your boyfriend in really good rope bondage, another time you could learn all about flogging and whipping, or how to put together a really kick-ass cop or firefighter uniform....
GMSMA was also an activist organization. Its leaders were instrumental in securing a place at the table for the leather community in groundbreaking gay civil rights marches in our nation’s capital. It was also the first s/m organization to include “S/M” in its title. That may not sound like much of a big deal today, but when GMSMA was founded back in 1981 those who engaged in s/m activities were often looked upon as freaks or deviants — even by those in the larger gay community. Believe it or not, GMSMA had to fight to be allowed to meet at the gay community center. In later years it became one of the center’s biggest financial donor organizations.
There were about 45 men in attendance at the last meeting in June, including a leather top who brought a very sexy and shirtless tattooed slave on a leash, who greeted the men he was introduced to by getting down on his hands and knees and licking their boots. Most who showed up were old-timers — one came in on the train from northeastern Connecticut. A few who came were newer members. At least half — including me — were former board members of the organization who had put in years or in some cases even decades of service to the community. But when the official business of the meeting got under way and the remaining officers announced the sad plans to effectively shut down the organization, only one man in attendance raised an objection.
It was painful for many others as well, but the unfortunate fact, what everybody knew — and what ultimately led to the end for GMSMA — is that there are simply not enough men who are willing and able to step forward to lead the organization anymore. The current board was down to just three members (a fourth signed on to help in the coming months with the transition). They were over-worked and under-appreciated. The harsh reality is that the organization simply could not continue to exist in its current form without more manpower.
I'm not a leather guy and I suppose that's just the problem. Very few men hovering around my age range and younger seem to be interested or know or know-to-care or care-to-know anything about the leather community or the meaning and history behind it. Sure some of us have our Sam Brownes and harnesses for events like The Black Party and Folsom Street East, when leather is acceptable and down-right dress code but by no means is there a trend going toward the leather lifestyle. Older friends tell stories of what leather truly means. That it is much more than fashion, accessories, more than "Masc and solid," more than butch and mean. Leather is a means to discovering the deeper connections two men can have between one another. A bonding experience. An exposure and measure of trust and vulnerability. Still, maybe for those of us whose closet doors were left ajar rather than bolted shut there isn't that search for sexual comprehension or need for fetish-based sexual fulfillment. Sex is here. It's now. It's out, it's open. It may not be talked about as much as it's happening but it is happening. The analogy of leather, no longer, necessarily applies? Maybe if play spaces and dungeons were more widely available, established or more culturally/socially accepted leather would be more current or stand a greater chance? Yet even though I'm one of those casual street event, Folsom-based leather guys it strikes me as a loss, a changing of landscapes, a shifting of wavelength when communities such as these meet an end.
Is it all be too far gone? The men of true leather are either dead or significantly older and the few still proudly fastening chaps and strapping harnesses, outside of commercial scenes, are seeing their beloved, sought out organizations closing. I suppose it's all fitting. What place does leather have these days? Here in NYC. New.York.City. We have only The Eagle, which is rather leather-light and The Lure and Spike are long gone, gone, gone. If International Mr. Leather and Mid Atlantic Leather are major events, then where are the pockets of that in other urban/rural areas? Have we become lazy or casually unconcerned?
Will we see a resurgence in leather and this community? Will men step up and lead or will this be yet another relic of our past?
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Michael Jackson's funeral brought to you by HyperMegaGlobal Corp!
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Michael Jackson's Funeral: Brought to you by Joel Osteen Ministries and Farmland Eggs - "Just beat it!"
Monday, July 6, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Way to go Mott Haven Village High!
The raid in the early hours of June 28 by Fort Worth police officers and agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has set off a political uproar and galvanized gay advocates in Fort Worth, who have traditionally been less vocal than in Dallas and Houston. After years of keeping a low profile, gay men and lesbians in Fort Worth say they are furious, and their complaints have spread on the Internet, attracting support from gay rights groups across the country.
They have organized protests and formed a new organization, Fairness Fort Worth, to keep track of various investigations into the incident that have begun or been requested. They also have taken up collections and organized a benefit concert to help the injured.
“It has brought this community together so tight — it’s almost impermeable now,” said Randy Norman, the manager of the lounge.
Tom Anable, a 55-year-old accountant who said he was in the bar during the raid, said that for more than a half-hour the officers entered the bar repeatedly in groups of three and escorted people out. Then around 1:40 a.m., he said, the officers started to get rougher, throwing one young man down hard on a pool table.
Minutes later, one of the state agents approached Mr. Gibson, who was standing on steps to a lounge at the back of the bar with a bottle of water in his hands, and tapped him on the shoulder, Mr. Anable said. Mr. Gibson turned and said, “Why?”
Then the officer, who has not been identified, twisted Mr. Gibson’s right arm behind his back, grabbed his neck, swung him off the steps and slammed his head into the wall of a hallway leading to the restrooms, Mr. Anable said. The agent then forced Mr. Gibson to the floor, Mr. Anable said.
Next time, hit back.