Thursday, July 30, 2009

PodCast: IML Bareback Issue

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

Guest Post: Eric the Roommate

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.

Dear Blog,

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...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

1 in 8,000,000

1 in 10 - 1 in 8,000,000
The New York Times is doing a new Photo/Audio project entitled "One in 8 Million" where they follow the life stories of individuals living in and around New York City. Recently, One in 8 Million did a feature on Ra Ruiz, a 22 year old queer youth who identifies as one of the Christopher St. Pier kids. Her story is both brutal and inspiring.

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.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sex in an Epidemic

Sex in an Epidemic, a documentary by ACT UP'er Jean Carlomusto, was shot years ago and it's now finally making a release on youtube.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Unbuckling Straps: An undoing of the NYC Leather Community

Past or present?
A week ago the decades-old organization of Gay Male S/M Activists (GMSMA) of New York put the kibosh on their twice a month meetings and community. Over the years numbers of attendees dwindled from hundreds to just a handful and as the letter below states, "there are simply not enough men who are willing and able to step forward to lead the organization."

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.

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.
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.

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?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Single Rope Action

Whatchu' know 'bout me?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Still, 40 Years Later

"Gay Americans aren’t just another political special interest group. They are Americans who are actively discriminated against by federal laws. If the president is to properly honor the memory of Stonewall, he should get up to speed on what happened there 40 years ago, when courageous kids who had nothing, not even a public acknowledgment of their existence, stood up to make history happen in the least likely of places."
The quote above comes from a terrific Op-Ed entitled, "40 Years Later, Still Second Class Americans" by Frank Rich from the New York Times, June 27th 2009.

The next day, June 28th 2009 - the exact date of the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a group of squealing pig cops "raided" a Fort Worth, TX gay bar and beat the shit out of a man drinking a bottle of water. The victim is left with severe brain injuries. A full scale investigation has been launched into the case.

Fuck that. Fuck calling your senators. Fuck sending emails. Fuck signing petitions. Fuck the "Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Homophobia has got to go" chanting and let's start fighting BACK again.

I know I'm not in Fort Worth so yes it's *easy* for me to say this- but I think the Fort Worth LGBT Community should march to the front door of the police precinct responsible for this "raid" and throw some eggs against their front door. Let them know, somehow, some way, just like the kids at Stonewall, that we're not going to take this shit anymore. We should show them we're not the limp-wristed faggot pushovers they think we are and we refuse to let our heads be bashed in any longer.

Stonewall didn't become history through chanting, through sign making or "full scale investigations." It made history because cops got punched back, bottles were smashed and trash cans lit on fire.

Cars were burned out during the White Night Riots. The glass of SF City Hall, smashed.

We deserve better. Now.