Come on, how could you not be hyped?
Sparber spins hot disc.
Wayne and I went to The Center last night to see a new play entitled Loaded. The show is completely sold out for its short 5 show duration but if you beg The Center or call ahead you might be able to get a seat.
LOADED, the provocative new play by Elliot Ramon Potts, directed by Hector Lugo is an exhilarating dark comedy which dares to ask the question, “What happens when f**k buddies start talking?” Running ninety-minutes, LOADED breathtakingly unfolds in real time as the characters -- a jaded, 47-year-old man who is used to having the upper hand in intimate encounters and a hopeful, quick-witted 24-year-old -- reveal themselves in a sexually charged tête-à-tête. They thrash out the perceived consequences of a libertine past, the risk of a conformist present and the dithering future of the Gay Community. The sex may have been hot, but the conversation…incendiary. The talented and sexy cast features Paul Caiola and Ted Morin.Wayne and I were both incredibly impressed with this play and how the subject matter unravels before the audience with no unnatural flow or superficial push. In approximately 90 minutes the characters hit upon everything ranging from: Gay history, gay sex, Older/Younger homo dynamics, activism, HIV/AIDS, bareback, the difference between generations and where we're headed. The play is intense and carries a great impact.
Click clack clomp clump thud
The day is here:
The anxiety crashed a long time ago. The white foam rumbled itself out over the last few remaining months and the pools have drained back into the water.
He's made it. He put his hand on the book, the other up in the air and officially became our 44th President.
I suppose it is among the greatest of stories: The no-name underdog battling his way through the spiked tunnels and pitfalls of politics, dodging spears, swinging on hope, and defeating his two opponents at a pivotal time in our world's history. The stakes have never been higher and the people have turned to the rookie to lead them. We have given him a key to our city and he, with our investment, made that key glow to its brightest potential.
He is the Native American. The Slave. The man in the hose's aim. He is the man on the Moon, the picture in the text book. He is the man that made the Earth stand still. He is the President who got out of his motorcade to stop and wave to the people. He is history. He is: The American dream.
Throughout his campaign Barack Obama used words like Change, Hope and Progress to spark people up from an election and out into a movement. Art became inspired. Musicians began collaborating. Young people threw themselves onto computer screens and chiseled their way through technology. We had something to believe in again. After eight dark, directionless years we now had a light to hold on to.
"We want change. We want change."
"Yes we can! Yes we can!"
But now the day is here. Right here. Right now.
He has taken us this far. But now the responsibility is ours. We were the ones that chanted "yes we can." We were the ones that urged support. We were the ones that pledged "we want change." Now it's time to prove it.
So, in the words of our new President:
"Every so often there are times when America must rise to meet a moment.
And our moment is now.
This is our moment.
This is our time-
to unite in common purpose.
To make this century the next American century.
Let's go change the world!"
Last night Wayne and I attend the Stop the Arrests! town hall meeting at The Center. The meeting was called to educate and organize around the recent NYPD entrapment cases and frivolous arrests targeting the queer community in NYC bookstores and other adult venues.
To read up on the issues please visit my previous post where I feature Gay City News reporter Duncan Osborne's article on the matter. This is definitely a topic worth discussing. Our community is being unfairly targeted and there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for it other than the police viewing gays as easy people to arrest.
Below is Duncan Osborne's summation of the evening:
Some 300 people came to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center for a town hall meeting on police arrests of gay men on prostitution charges in New York City porn shops.
Openly gay state Senator Thomas K. Duane, who represents Chelsea, told the crowd “I think it’s very disturbing that there has been this pattern of arrests...No matter how you look at this issue, the enforcement has been completely, utterly inappropriate and out of control.”
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who represents Chelsea, and Councilmember Rosie Mendez, who represents the Lower East Side and part of Gramercy, sent staffers. Quinn’s staffer said the speaker was “very concerned” about the arrests and had communicated with the police department while the staffer representing Mendez read a letter in which the councilmember called for a “full investigation into the actions of the police department.”
Police have arrested at least 47 gay or bisexual men in seven porn shops dating back to 2004 with roughly half of those arrests coming in 2008. Citing those arrests, the police department sued six of the seven, with four suits happening in 2008, using the city’s nuisance abatement in an effort to close the shops. Two were shuttered while the others remain open under settlements with the city that restricts their operations.
Andrea J. Ritchie, director of the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center, said the arrests and lawsuits are used to punish “deviant” sexuality. “The decision in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 did not end the policing of gay sex,” she said referring to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down state sodomy laws. “The policing of sexuality casts a much wider net. It captures heterosexuals as well as queers.”
Other panelists at the town hall included Sienna Baskin, a legal fellow at the Sex Workers Project, Joey Nelson from the Queer Justice League, Jennifer Ramirez, an organizer at the New York City Gay and esbian Anti-Violence Project, and Robert Pinter, a gay man who was arrested for prostitution in Blue Door Video on First Avenue in the East Village in October. The Coalition to Stop the Arrests, a group founded by Pinter, will meet at the Center on January 29 at 6:00 pm to plan next steps and AVP will host a meeting at its offices on Janury 28. Go to avp.org for details.
The apartment is solely illuminated by the blue-black flicker of a television set airing football against the white walls. I am just waking up. It's morning, but it might as well be dusk, or even later- maybe somewhere around the edges of this deep winter's midnight. I check back at my clock twice, making sure I hadn't somehow slept through the entire day. I hadn't. It's only 11AM on Sunday and my roommate is plopped on the couch. Our "Emergency Only!" television set has been brought down from the closet shelf and is now propped on our kitchen chair airing ESPN. My roommate stares at the flicker, an entire day of watching football reflecting off his eyes. I need to get out. Our apartment is so dark. So cold. Everything is cold and dark and the walls of our tiny apartment are finite and looming. There must be errands to run, I think to myself, trying to conjure up a day of aimless, just-to-make-you-feel-better productivity. I look up to the ceiling. In the television's dull bleeps I make out a dust web in the corner and think to myself that cleaning my room is at least something. But, that's not going to happen. It can't. I need to get out of here. I shrug off ideas in my head as I slip on my sneakers and pat my coat making sure I have my gloves with me. For a moment I consider my cell phone. Friends to call? Brunch? I buckle. The thought of scrolling through my contacts, picking or choosing, waiting for whomever, whenever, wherever- texting, it all becomes too much and I tease myself with the idea of leaving my cell phone at home for the day. This, of course, is an impossibility. Leaving my cell phone at home is about as far fetched as confidently leaving my house naked. I'd constantly pat at the front of my jeans, my pockets won't feel exactly right and each square of the sidewalk would bring thoughts of "what if" or missed opportunity. Truth is- I wasn't expecting any calls and knew I wouldn't be making them. I drop the gadget into my pocket, feel the correct weight in my jeans and decide to head to The Strand bookstore. If I am feeling this dismal, this early on, then reading the next book on my list about The 80's and the AIDS crisis would only validate my utter nonchalance, if not snap me out of it all together.
The air is cold and the wind twacks my nose like a snap of steel. My shoulders hug my neck and I feel knots starting to spitefully muster up in my traps. There's no sense in taking the L Train, I might as well brave the cold and walk to Union Square. I stop for a coffee, hoping the heat and caffeine might cause me to straighten up or rewire my brain to form some semblance of glee. Something's got to work. This is a rare mental state for me, yet it continues to linger, overcast and heavy. Maybe The Strand will hold an unexpected something? This is New York, right? Adventure waits around every corner. Who knows, maybe I'll even get laid? I drift away with this thought and allow it to consume the distance of blocks I have to walk. Maybe I'll turn the corner of the Gay and Lesbian Fiction section and catch the eyes of some unsuspecting handsome Joe. We'll make eye contact, look away, stare at the floor, and look back, quickly causing the numbers of the combination to lock and he'll start a conversation with me as I pull a book from the shelf:
"Oh! You like David Feinberg," He'll ask and continue on with, "If you like that one I can recommend a bunch of others that you might enjoy. In fact, I have a whole collection of books just like this at my brownstone apartment on the Upper West Side! Why don't you come over, I'll make a fire and get into my underwear and you can cuddle up against my chest and spend the whole day reading whatever you'd like?"
Suddenly I'm excited to get to The Strand. I walk in, unzip my coat and flick on my gay sonar senses hoping the unsuspecting handsome Joe will bleep onto my screen. Nothing yet. I make my way to the back of the bookstore and hold my breath before turning the corner of the Gay and Lesbian Fiction section. I exhale. There's nothing here except packed, unkempt 10 foot tall bookshelves and the smell of paperback ghosts. Just as well, I think, that's what fantasies are: fantasies.
There are only a few titles by David Feinberg. Two paperback editions of Spontaneous Combustion and one hardcover of 86'd. I pull all three books off the shelf and flip through them hoping the mysterious previous owner made notes in the margins or underlined sentences, causing the status of the book to go from novel to treasure, but nothing is found. I feel a sad sense of guilt, clearing these books off the shelf and purchasing them for myself. It makes sense that I would have these books but what if there's some 19 year old NYU student or burgeoning AIDS activist for whom I am robbing this experience? The titles are obsolete enough as they stand and I have several friends who have copies of these books who would gladly loan them to me if I asked, yet still I want them for myself. I want to send one copy of Spontaneous Combustion to a friend and the other I want for my personal stash. I'm going to have to buy all three. I tick-tock my tongue off the top of my mouth and rationalize the purchase by proposing that I'll read the books, keep 'em handy for a few years, make my own notes in the margins and return them sometime during my mid-thirties, if the world still exists then. Fine. I turn on my heel, clutch the books by my side and head for the checkout line.
Back outside I stamp my foot and huff at the cold. The weather is far from announcing any invitations for me to sit on a bench in Union Square and begin my reading. I think of which coffee shops are within my radius but who am I kidding? They're going to be packed to the hilt, coffee cups themselves, overflowing at the brim, all the seats taken, John Mayer on the stereo and some twenty-three year old girl complaining to her friend that her father is finally making her pay her own phone bill. I sigh and head north to Barnes and Noble. Maybe, if I play my cards right, keep my alert on high-gear and hover correctly I'll find a seat in the bustling coffee area.
I make my way through the huge doors and as they close happen to drown out the frail man screaming for people to leave "just one penny for the homeless." I self-consciously walk with my head down past the security guards. My backpack is full of books. Books I didn't purchase here and would hate to be mistaken for a thief. Everything in Barnes and Noble is clean and white and gleaming. Hundreds of sleek new books are neatly organized into little stacks and each table is clearly marked by their topic. So many books. Both old and new, fiction and non-fiction. Everything! I want to belly-flop fling myself upon each table like a brave soldier to a live grenade, letting the books detonate beneath me, sending shrapnel of words and stories and talent and technique and history to shoot throughout my body. I want to absorb everything. The idea is titillating and inspiring for a moment but then turns sour because I can't possibly consume everything in this store and I begin rattling off thoughts like there's never enough time in the day or the year or even a life. The books turn dark and cruel like sadistic children on a playground pointing and laughing at me, causing me to recount all the things I haven't completed in life, all the projects I left unfinished and suddenly everything seems daunting and unfair.
I shake my head from side to side and head toward the escalators. I make my way to the huge coffee area and the place is buzzing like Times Square hopped up on brains and New York based conversation. A homeless man tries to dissolve into a corner, babies wail in their strollers, girls gab to one another, a man listening to his ipod flips through a book and scribbles notes onto loose-leaf paper, a man with white hair and a red Kashmir sweater reads a self-help book and I eye my desperately-looking-for-a-table competition standing alongside me. There's about four of us and not one of us seems willing to give the next available seat away. This battle is going to be fierce. It's not about who was first or who has been waiting the longest. It's all about who spots what or if you're closest to the next table packing up to leave. Fortunately, I get the first ray of sunlight in my rather stagnant and stuck day and one of the mommies seated next to where I'm standing resigns to her crying baby by saying, "you know what? Fine. You've had enough for today," and gets up to leave. The moment the mommy reaches for her coat I take one giant step to the left and the table is mine. Victory! Ha! I try not to make eye contact with my competition and pretend as though they no longer exist. I sit, exhale deeply, put my coffee on the table, shed my coat and flip open the cover of 86'd. I take one last look around the room and look back down at my book. I drown out the rest of the chaotic world around me and begin reading the first few sentences.
100 some odd pages and god knows how many hours later I look up to discover an entirely new cast of characters seated around me. Startled and engulfed by 86'd I contemplate calling some of my friends just to check in on them, to make sure, unlike the plot of the book, that they're all still alive. I blink a few times allowing my eyes to adjust and notice the day is breaking into a dull yellow and pink dwindling twilight. It'll be dusk soon and full fledged night only moments there after. When the sun is out of the sky and the dark winter has consumed everything, I can finally say my day is done and head home, hoping for a clearer less dense head tomorrow. My ears begin filtering conversation around me. I overhear The Eagles won the game and I hesitate the decision to head home, wondering if I'm up for my roommates raging enthusiasm over the victory of his beloved football team. Maybe seeing him will be a good thing? I shrug and head out.
Union Square is almost entirely empty. I pull a cigarette out of my pocket and smoke it out of no other reason than dawdling in the cold, for just a bit longer, before committing to going back to my apartment. The day lessens overhead, a thin sliver of golden dry light is pushed beneath the darkening sky and I listen to the breath of the wind through my pinking ears. The city is nil. Muffled, dim and bleak. Nearly apocalyptic. I finish my cigarette and flick it hard against the ground causing the embers of the tip to explode into an orange dazzle. One last toast to my virtual palindrome of a day.
I stand at the south end of Union Square. I'm the only one here. Beneath me empty subway tunnels blow New York Post tumbleweed while in front of me cabbies seem desperate for fares. There is no honking, no sirens, no on-the-street chatter. There is no sound except for the monotone dull fuzz circling around my brain.
There is nothing but a quiet city today.
I promised myself I wouldn't do a thing, not a thing, until I got my hair cut. No blogging, no friends, no visits to the bank, hell- I wasn't even going to eat before getting my hair cut. I worked my tail off, on the road, for the last half of December all to come back to New York for two days and get hit with a horrific shit storm of a flu. I checked out of the city and basically checked out of life and hunkered down with my parents in New Jersey until this cold front passed over my body and I was back to health. In the meantime my hair, which was shaggy and miserable before leaving town had grown so unkempt and wild that it became the epicenter for everything bad and rotten in my life. I swore when I returned to feeling 100%, getting my hair cut would be the first step in restoring my life back to normalcy. The hair on my neck had grown to full-on werewolf, I had bangs, my beard was Rastafarian and my sideburns were now fit for a standard application to the East Williamsburg Orthodox community.
My flu finally subsided by Wednesday night and by Thursday I felt healthy, brave and eager enough to hop the 197 Willowbrook Mall Express to Port Authority. I missed my life, my apartment, NPR, my friends and I could not stand the thought of another day flipping through channels just to end up on another disdainful episode of The "Real" Housewives of The OC (Vicki is such a bitch.)
Stepping foot on the New York concrete and getting slapped in the face by a frigid gust of wind was like finding a pool of water after wandering the desert for 5 days. I was back and the city was mine again. Being back gave me one of those rare New York feelings where I felt the city was more accessible than ever. Subways were fun and the entirely redundant subway-to-apartment walk was interesting yet again! I had one of those moments where I asked myself, "Yeah, why don't you go to MoMA, like everyday?" and "I'm totally going to the New York Public Library at Bryant Park on Saturday. Just to go! After all, this is New York." My excitement to be back in the city and healthy again caused me to take the very rare trip to West 94th street to see my friend (who always asks me to come over and eat dinner but I always complain that "it's too far!") and catch up.
My excitement to be back in the city and to see my friends dropped quicker than an erection to a Grandmother when my friend greeted me with a hug and said in that hyper-homo snarky tone that I hate and makes me want to rampage facebook pages, "yeaaaah. That hippie-bear look you're going for isn't really
werking werrrking (snap!) working for you." I wanted to shove the palm of my hand right up his nose but instead I settled for a "fuck you" and a hug. I dropped my jacket and demanded hot food at once. My resentments didn't last long and I found myself enjoying my friend, his company and sharing where we have been and what we have been up to for the month we hadn't seen each other. At 2AM we called it a night and I headed downtown on the 2 train to 14th street where I discovered the L was no longer running, but still in my excitement to "be back!" I decided to walk from 6th Ave. to the East Village to get home. I arrived back home around 2:45 (I stopped for a hot tea on the way) and crashed into sleep without trying.
I awoke today and rolled around in bed for a few minutes and cracked my laptop open to begin hacking down on the emails I've been ignoring for weeks upon weeks even though I pledged to not do a thing until getting my haircut. I answered about two emails before rolling my eyes and considered renewing my
Republican ownedManhunt account but remembered while hairy might be "in," the homeless look certainly isn't and I actually did have better things to do than sit around all day answering going nowhere, back-and-forth emails like "What R U in 2?" and the always clever "sup?" I blew a short breath out of my lungs, swung my feet over the bed, stretched, got up, thew some Santogold into the stereo and steamed up my tiny bathroom with a hot-hot shower. I was ready for my hair cut and start living life again.
I figured I should actually eat before doing anything as it's probably a bad idea to go hungry when your body is recovering from the flu. I had banana pancakes (yum!), two coffees and a water. When I got up from the table I felt exhausted. I prayed that I didn't already over do anything and was going to end up sick again. Regardless, I was going to get my hair cut! I usually get my hair cut at that small place across from Ty's on Christopher St. but I decided to settle for Astor Place Hair instead as I didn't want to brave the walk to the West Village in my weakened condition. I always get my hair cut by the same tattooed Latin guy who considers me "pretty cool for a gay guy" and always invites me to smoke a joint with him on his break. I declined this time wanting to ensure that I recover before harming my lungs again. As he snipped away at my hair I felt self-loathing and ugliness lifting from my body like stench out of a sewer and I was relieved that this one single action was finally taking place. Whew!
After the haircut was done I felt more exhausted than I did after breakfast. Looks like I'm not entirely healthy after all. I was bummed that the haircut didn't cure everything I thought it would. But I suppose it's all about baby steps, right?
Ugh. I need my bed.
Yup, I'm down for the count for a few days:
Don't try and watch a Bad Girl's Club Marathon
Don't watch Mel Gibson's Apocalypto.
Don't fret about how you haven't gone to the gym in over a month and how you're down 10lbs.
Don't double-dose on cough syrup with codeine it will only make you feel that much more delirious.
Do brush your teeth often.
Do drink lots and lots of homemade Green Tea Iced Tea
Do cuddle with your Mommy!
Do watch the entire second season of Big Love
Do watch Southland Tales, DON'T try to understand it.