Friday, December 23, 2011


I went to Miami to belatedly celebrate Peppar's birthday. When I arrived, we immediately went to an Indian reservation to buy cheap cigarettes, an outlet mall to buy my standard two blouses, and the movies. We saw "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

Peppar and I used to have a standing date each Friday night to see a movie together, when she lived in New York. I was sort of depressed back then, and I think she was, too, so it was a great comfort to have this to look forward to throughout the week. Then, she got married, and her husband Michael stole her away to Florida. Sigh. That's why we saw the movie ... to recapture who we were years ago. Some people have nightclubs; I have a darkened theater. Still, I felt like we had shot our wad on the first day of the trip, and I then had to think of ways to fill my remaining day, which Peppar would not be present for (some family thing of hers).

After she left the following day, I went to the gym and then went for dinner to Lario's, Gloria Estefan's restaurant on Ocean Drive. I sat at the bar and told the bartender, in a slightly threatening fashion, to let me know when Gloria Estefan arrived, so that I could "be ready." He laughed nervously and then spoke in Spanish on his walkie talkie. Gloria Estefan never arrived to supervise her restaurant that evening, but I did enjoy some minced beef with egg and fried plaintain. I can't tell you in words how excited I would have been to see Gloria Estefan in the flesh; the words get in the way, as it were.

The following day, my last little day in Miami, I went to the beach. I put on the swimming trunks I had brought along and marched there, trying to hold my head up high and maintain my dignity. Along the way, a hostess in a restaurant smiled at the sight of me (as had the front desk person at my hotel, the Lords). I asked her if the trunks made me look gay, and she paused and then nodded twice, curtly. But I am gay in quotes, I thought as I marched the rest of the way, a little chastened.

Can you believe that I've never worn these swimming trunks in public, ever? I bought them, like, twelve years ago (from the Armani store)! So I wanted at least one picture in them in my lifetime, and I asked a hot, shirtless blonde if he would take my picture. "Can you believe I'm 39?" I asked him. "Yes, I can," he replied, and I was chastened again, just as the sea itself chastened me that day. (It was much too choppy to really swim in it, but I did try over and over, the sea laughing at me). I am a water sign, but I have developed in my old age a slight aversion to water. This visit to the beach was meant in part to reestablish a connection to the water, while avoiding drowning. In this, I was successful.

I feel like this trip was successful in many different ways, but I am excited to return to New York, where winter is tightening its grip, and where you may have a pair of swimming trunks you are anxious to wear, but have to opportunity to wear them, and where years may go by.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Orange jumpsuits

Ah, New York's famous tabloid newspapers. Not really known for Cindy Adams any more, but still faithfully pumping out their race-baiting reportage. Case in point, the coverage of the killing of officer Peter Figoski. Here the suspects are in their orange jumpsuits, though the white guy is in a white jump suit, and one black guy is in beige. How mysterious are jumpsuits, but I'm getting off the subject here. This killing was a true tragedy, indeed. But I don't need to see the alleged killers referred to as "thugs" and "lowlifes" in a newspaper article. Hey, I'm a smart person; I can come to those conclusions myself, if necessary!

When I was growing up in NYC, minority youths who were accused of rape in a park were a "wolf pack," and pretty easily convicted, though the convictions were later overturned. But white lacrosse players going to St. John's University, accused of the same crime, were acquitted, one juror saying that they "had their whole lives ahead of them." For an impressionable young person, and a minority, like myself, the opinion that I was outside of justice somehow could have been easily formed. But because I was middle class, and read a lot of Dickens, I came to believe that it was justice itself that had failed. That's why I was secretly delighted when O. J. was acquitted. Justice never worked for my people in the 90s. Why wouldn't I be thrilled to learn that at least one member of my race had a decent, if circus-ish, showing at trial? And he was properly acquitted, unless you forget that Mark Fuhrman plead the fifth when asked if he had planted evidence making it seem like O. J. murdered his ex-wife. That's how the legal system works.

Still, justice has been elusive ever since. Figoski's accused killers are "creeps" to the Post, but aren't they deserving of a fair trial, like everyone else? Not one of the banker masterminds of our economic collapse has ever been called a "thug" outside of, perhaps, Salon, though their crimes affected millions of lives, not just a relative few. And none of them will be convicted, either, or even indicted. Perhaps this is because the economic crisis is slightly more complex than random violence, and it is easier (and sells more papers) to prey on the fears of New Yorkers who believe we are all more at the mercy of colored people than corporate conspiracies.

I know I'm probably in the minority with my opinions, but whatever.

Self-loathing with a little wink

I was poking about the internet the other day, and I came upon some old digests from the Juliana Hatfield mailing list. They were from August, and those were the most recent I had, since my Yahoo mailbox filled up shortly thereafter, and I guess I was automatically unsubscribed from the list. Apparently, Juliana had a new record out in August ... I can't believe I missed it. I'm such a superfan that I usually get records from my heroes on, like, the first day of release, so that I can in my own way join a club, the club of defeated fans of 90s lady rockers who still hold out hope that their favorite artists will crack the Billboard 100. Why wasn't I checking that mailbox? I assume it was because I was really busy.

I downloaded the record today (this is a limited release, and physical cds are sold out already) and was sort of blown away and really moved, much to my surprise. It's beautiful and it rocks, sort of like Rolling Stones-style grooves crossed with California pop, all sung by a little girl voice that blames you, that is in crisis, that purposefully diminishes the singer's accomplishments. It's self-loathing set to music. It's kind of chillingly perfect, actually. There hasn't been a Juliana record that surprised me since "God's Foot," which was never even released. I'd long since given up hope that she could teach me anything (even though my song "I get the craziest feeling" has the same number of syllables in places as her song "Feel it." That's my usual homage style ... I just rip off the rhythm of the song and change the melody and lyrics ... and then it's a whole new song! Sort of like the Donna "sew on some sequins and make it a whole new look!" Karan school of songwriting).

I love the cover. Juliana always gets naked for her record covers, I feel. But with no airbrushing. A nude photo of someone whose weight fluctuates as wildly as hers does can be somewhat shocking to behold. See? Self-loathing with a little wink. "Macabre" is probably a good word for Juliana's schtick.

I'm recording "I get the craziest feeling" soon, with my superband of Chris on drums and Matt on bass (if he's still speaking to me), along with three other songs. And then I'm either going to record some more or put out six songs as an e.p. I will call it "Joy," though it will contain no real succor. Since I'm recording again, I'm paying a little more attention to the music world these days. But no one moves me, sigh. I'm old, that's probably why! (That's a song!) My most enduring musical emotional attachments were formed before I was 20 years old, with notable exceptions. That's why I'm always waiting for a good Sinead O'Connor record again, or a good Liz Phair record. Both of them apparently have new music coming out soon. How will I feel if they both rock again? Maybe I will feel that I rock again, that I have been vindicated. (But ultimately for naught, as neither of them will ever sell a lot of records again, and no one will ever hear of my own self-release when I put it out). Perhaps I will be transported back in time to Jones Beach in '91, seeing Sinead O'Connor (my second concert ever ... the first was the "Blonde Ambition tour by Madonna) and secretly loving the tousled-haired waifish boys who clung to that kind of genre-defying music, though feeling like I was too fat to ever really be seen by them. I still feel too fat to do most anything, but I always will, so that's okay.

Needless to say, I will be fully clothed for my record cover. But maybe it will be a closeup of my big head crying, like that Sinead O'Connor record.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Gin Mingle

I decided to attend this year's "Gin Mingle" at Housing Works with my unconsummated life partner Johnathan. I don't like gin, and my mingling strategy has lately been aggressive and borderline toxic, but something darkly comic always happens at these events, so I went. Johnathan brought me a box of "Nips." Nips and older people like me don't mix ... it pulls out our fillings and then we have to go to dentists who prey on us, who insist that we get a total mouth plate, which costs thousand of dollars that Medicare won't cover. While I sensibly didn't eat many of the nips, I did spend most of the evening walking up to hot, waifish studs of the publishing industry, asking them if they were "into nips." Most of the publishing studs indicated that they were as a matter of fact not into nips, or at least not nips that were mine to offer, but that is not important to the story. Imagine that, though - if these stories of mine, these lines, had a happy ending one day? (Don't worry, I wouldn't let that happen).

At one point, Vanity Fair writer Henry Alford came up to introduce himself to me. I know Henry from Facebook (he sometimes comments on my blog, although he has been mum of late. I was first introduced to his work when I interviewed for a position at Twelve Books, and wrote up a publicity plan for a book he wrote about old people. A book about old people, you are thinking ... Why didn't they ask YOU to blurb it, Gee Henry? I then watched with interest as I did not get that job and the book became a bestseller). I told Henry that I would like to feature him on my outfit blog, and he immediately turned around and exposed his pert buttocks, to "show me his pants." Always playing hard to get, eh, Henry? ;) Still, his buttocks were indeed delightful, and I leaned over to congratulate his boyfriend, Greg, on having possession of the buttocks. His boyfriend sort of looked at me funny. (Greg & Henry were talking to Greg Henry, as it happened, at the Gin Mingle!)

Henry often puts fun status updates on his Facebook page, and I always want to comment on them. But Henry's friends are all very funny and very fast, and sometimes when I notice an update, it already has reams of comments already, from the likes of comic writer Merrill Markoe and such, and it's too intimidating. Sometimes, when I think that I must be the funniest person in the world, I read one of Henry's updates and the comments that come in so swiftly afterwards, and then I know that I am only one of many, many funny people. The thought is usually so horrific to me that I have to take a Neurontin. I left the Gin Mingle in sort of a bad mood, but I was thankful, at least, that I didn't get wasted, and that I was heading home to "work on my nips," a joke you'd only fully get if you have a Manhunt account.