Thursday, June 27, 2013

World War


in 3D.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

So Included: Lighter than Air, Thank you Denmark

Back in the day, before Reagan even, I was gay in Suffern, New York, dating, trying to do the hetero tango, etc. You know the scene.

I was an academic/musical kid, popular enough to keep myself busy on the weekends, a huge mop of curly hair and a pretty optimistic hop in my step.  Sometimes, though, I was dark and brooding and depressed and terrified because I knew, way down, I was goose-gay. Some kids at high school were mean to me (you two guys in Physics, you know who you are). Most were not and I had many friends. The meaner kids, for the most part, came to boring or dead ends in life. My vindictive side cheers for the hero, time, who took care of them. But mostly, besides the humiliation of finding carved into the bathroom stall wall, "For a good blow job, call Donald Cummings 357-3651," I soldiered on and figured I would outgrow my attraction toward men. Maybe. (That was my real phone number. Someone did their research.)

So there I was, in high school, without the internet (or cable). In an attempt to find out some shit, to see if I could live inside myself without a mountain of pain, I walked across the tracks over to the Suffern Free Library and went to the card catalog and looked under the subject heading, "Homosexual," and found a few books in the stacks that were all about it.

The one that grabbed my full attention had photos.

I hid in a cubicle and looked at every black and white picture. You see, this was a book that had a title like, "Henrik and Peder are Gay and Happy."  It was Danish. It showed these two hipster, good looking guys living together, domestically and happily in their Copenhagen apartment. Cooking. Watching T.V. Laughing together as they poured drinks or Peder was on his way out the door for work while Henrik was still sipping his strong morning coffee. They were a couple. They were gay. And it was all good.

I was amazed. I thought--These two guys, these two good looking gay guys (and one was so ridiculously rock star cute) are having this much fun? They are smiling constantly? They are lighter than air? They are...confident? And they don't seem to hate themselves? Can this be true? Why don't these pictures show the real truth, that they must hate themselves? Is the Danish government in the business of pushing this whacked homo thing onto its people? What for? To pretend that it's okay? Because they don't understand that being gay is the same as being almost suicidal? These must be actors they hired. Why is the Danish government trying to brainwash me? I don't want to be gay. This is insane, clearly.

I finished the book and put it back in the stack. I thought of taking it home. But I figured--Why take the chance of having that book on my library record? Or the chance of someone at home finding it?

I headed home. I think I was on Oliver Street and it hit me--Sure, okay, that book must be true. Wow. Amazing. Really? Okay. Okay. It's possible. It really is possible. And even though being homosexual is so wrong and messed up and somehow evil, I guess you can be happy if you are gay...Sure--in Denmark.

I did drugs the first two years of college and went sort of nuts.

I went to the stacks at Tufts and again, without taking out the book, I read the wonderful The Best Little Boy in the World. Famous gay coming of age story. It helped.

Then...the slog. The endless slog of self acceptance (hard), peer acceptance (easy), family acceptance (a few bumps, but easy), actor career situation (hard), and then all those relationships (easy, hard, easy, hard, etc.), dodging AIDS bullets, the therapy, the gym, the running fast and then calming down and finally finding my Adam, building a life together, complete with all sorts of house habits and then twenty years of domestic togetherness and happiness, D.O.M.A. repealed and finally, today, finally, I feel quite fucking Danish. And the feeling is light. So light. And the loathing vectoring inward is, well, it may be almost completely gone.

There is something, it is indescribable, but when you are walking home alone from the library, heading West to cross the train tracks, with images of happy gay Danish men living together in an apartment and you know, you just know, that that is an impossibility for you and it will never happen and you want to disintegrate out of shame and then life happens and it's basically a good life and then the government, the actual federal government tells you, "Yeah, dude, you're as good as everyone else. You're as good as those black and white photographed Danes in their cool apartment," you just want to go back in time to the edge of the tracks to tell your sad isolated self, "Cheer up, you mopey guy. You're not in a Bergman film."

And though Denmark is not Sweden and I had only ever seen one Bergman movie, I think I would have looked up at the older, balder, fatter me from the future and said, "I don't care what the hell is going to happen to me sexually, but if I end up looking like you, I am going to throw myself in front of a train right now."

Thank you Denmark, The Suffern Free Library, my friends and family, my old boyfriends who are still my friends, Sarah Schultz (who is the first person I came out to and she didn't blink), my husband Adam who I love and share my life with, who cooks and works and loves me for who I am, who cried all day with joy over DOMA's repeal, the five justices of the Supreme court who knew it was time to catch up with Denmark and just about almost everyone I know who have, to a person, been completely supportive and loving in this weird-ass-hell-journey-of-mine growing up and living gay during the later 20th Century into the 21st. I am forever grateful. You have all made me so happy. I feel included, completely. I am lighter than air. Marry me again, Adam, this time in California? You've made my life a little slice of Copenhagen. Pass me the Frikadeller.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gay Eve

One wonders (Wim Wenders) what will become of the gay couples currently wriggling under the regressive bigotry of the big DOMA law.

Tune in, soon, when you may be hearing things like:

Yay! My April returns just got easier and I don’t have to pay as much to my accountant to do my complicated gay taxes!

Yay! I can sell my house one day and not worry about all sorts of government agencies taking away more of my big fat gay dollars.

Yay! Kids in Arkansas who are as gay as geese can grow up to marry the sex of their choice and register at Walmart! Maybe.

Yay! There is no longer a law that overrides states’s rights.

Yay! Please pass the Grey Poupon.

Yay! Gay people can write non-sequiturs about mustard and not be thrown in jail!

Yay! This helps our transgender friends a lot, too! In one nice swoop.


Boo. Just Boo. How dare you?

Here it comes.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Yay, Games!

This Snowden thing is not what it seems. It's just a bunch of big-boy games in a multi-room finished basement.

It's Hide-and-Go-Seek, I Spy, Poker, Chess and Whack-a-Mole all in one.

The U.S. knows exactly what it is doing. Wouldn't it be great if the FBI/CIA/OBummers let Snowden run around for a while, getting all chummy with all sorts of govs who have it in for us who then brag all sorts of crap to him while they are congratulating him and smacking him on the back for spitting in the eye of the greatest superpower of all time?

Damn, by the time Washington catches Teddy, he is going to have a bunch of gamey information. Sure, they'll pretend to put him in jail, or they'll put him in jail...but he's going to be very useful.

He might even be a decoy for the greater master-planner of all this. (Lady Gaga?)

And what about Ecuador, that land of sea turtles? Maybe he'll make it there. But it sounds like he may have to swim.

As far as I'm concerned, dig deep into my mailbox and scratch away at my texts. There's no privacy any longer. Who cares? If I do a Google search for tampons, within minutes I start getting ads for panty shields. Can it get any worse?

Enough with this Cold War intrigue. It makes me just want to put on shiny boots, plaid pants and a thick tie while watching Sally Struthers manipulate both her father, Archie, and her husband, The Meathead. Let's get to the real high stakes of our times:  Can my husband and I inherit each other's better/bigger social security after death?  Come on, Supreme Court, I won't be happy eating cat food when I'm 80. Smooth out my I.R.S. experience. Listen to the kids--80% of them who are ready to declare gender and the many ways genders can interact with each other to be just a bunch of fun colors.

Before Midnight

Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 98% rating. Understandable. Only the people who like this sort of thing will seek it out and watch it. That's us.

Completely enjoyable movie. The third installment of these two self-involved dynamos yacking it out in a romantic setting--and worth the time. For me, this is the most pleasing of the so-far-trilogy. There is disillusionment and bite swinging from the trees in this Greek paradise. Jesse and Celine are at it again. Older, better, thicker, more droopy, nipples getting worked.

While watching the movie, early on, I thought--this is so unreal, no one's like this--until I quickly became aware that I know so many people like this.

"Why is it all so hard and why isn't it set up for my satisfaction?"---yeah, that covers a lot of people.

At one point, Jesse clearly points out to Celine how they really can't be complaining too much. They live right in the middle of Paris.  So as to make you not loathe them for having no awareness of their special privileged spots on earth, the movie knows its place in the pack.

The two actors, as usual, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, are wonderful again. The opening one-take shot in the car is a long shocker. Linklater, you ambitious guy.

They rehearse and rehearse and memorize and that it all seems real. This movie is scripted to the comma. Love it. Not many directors and actors in film will attempt this or pull this off. I am a fan of long wordy scenes (that work).

The marriage ground covered here is not new. But it is newly presented. Fresh as hell. And there is a scene at a dinner table with friends when a woman talks of her dead husband and what she does to keep him alive in her mind but how he is disappearing, anyway, well, my husband and I cried like babies.

Beautiful, sharp, romantic, maddening, truthful, narcissistic, probing, smart and weirdly, even, humble.

See it. Rent it. Live well.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Only five performances left!


This is award winning VS. Theater company's premiere showing in their new space. And it's a great success.
It closes on June 29.

When you buy tickets, use the code   VS and you will get them at the bargain rate of $15.

I am on the advisory board of VS. and I advise you TO GO!


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

James: A Hunger for Life

The sad death of Mr. Gandolfini.

The Sopranos was the best show ever on television. They say. I agree. Basically.
He was amazing, this actor. There was no question. It is universally agreed.

Now, to the meat of things.

I used to watch that show and I was always afraid for him. He just seemed too large. And watching that character Tony Soprano stuff his face, I would think, “This man is going to die, eating like that.”

I had dinner with the wonderful actor who played Johnny Sack on The Sopranos just two weeks ago. I asked him how the actress who played his wife held up on the set. She was the one who was picked from a whole line up of civilians in New Jersey. It was stunt casting. Large and Jersey and real.  She didn’t do too well on the show. One story line focused on how humiliated Johnny Sack was because the guys were making fun of how fat his wife was.

Well, that actress is dead, too.

I love New Jersey. Sure.

But what is it about these Italians who just eat and eat?

Is it too soon?  No, I don’t think so. People in that fabulous state, along with people from all the other states---simply have to eat less and exercise more.  So public service announcement: Put down that fork and take a walk.

Sorry to be so dry and pragmatic. But, look, I didn’t know James Gandolfini---so I’m not going to pretend to be all misty.

So happy to see such a talented guy do so well.

James Gandolfini: he broke my heart as Carol in Where the Wild Things Are.  
He was perfect in the great play God of Carnage.
He was huge and beautiful and powerful and talented.
What a life, cut too short.

He also looks like my brother, a bit.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Another Big Joni Interview: NYTimes

She's certainly more surly here talking to the New York Times.

I guess we all become our mothers at some point...

I like the other interview better that I blogged about the other day. It has more vulnerability:

She dared to be true at the time it was happening.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Coming to My Rescue

Buy my mother-in-law's book.  It's well written and more.

Here at Amazon.

Coming to my Rescue

This is my original review from a few years ago.

Coming to My Rescue Review

This is the deal: it's a forceful, honest book. It is not tarted up with clever technique or jazzy language. It is straightforward and real. It tells the truth from a real person with some harrowing things to tell.

This is the thing about books:  The writer writes them for people to read them. And through that, there is communication. It's a pretty perfect experience for everyone when that happens.

Pull up a chair and listen to what Judith has to tell you.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Joni Mitchell Interview

This is worth every minute.

Joni Interview

I am, of course, a monstrous Joni fan. I love her big fat jazzy chords. And her. The dramatic little stories in the songs. The performances. And mostly, the daring modal form of music she took on.

I met Joni at her art show in LA a few years ago. I talked to her about something human and sensitive. She caught my eye and engaged with me. Then, I kind of wanted more from her. She disengaged. Smart.

She, wisely, loathes celebrity.

I first became obsessed with Joni one weekend while in Pittsburgh, of all places. It was the early 80s. The album was Court and Spark. I listened to one side, turned it over, then the other, turned it over. Repeat. While chain smoking. Joni figured into my music rotation for years. But then I went nuts in '91 when Night Ride Home was released. It was the period when everything was turning CD, (I think the last vinyl I ever bought was Bonnie Raitt's Nick of Time) and I played Joni's CD, repeatedly, for months. It helped that I was writing full time then. It was just me, Joni's Night Ride Home and my weird word processor thingy.

The deal was sealed with Turbulent Indigo.  And for most of the years since, I have mostly listened to Joni. Others, too, of course.  But she is who I always come back to. Occasionally, I get tired of the fluid music. But after a little break, I am always ready to return.

My other favorite albums:

Song to a Seagull
For the Roses
Court and Spark
Hissing of Summer Lawns

There are many cuts on many other albums that I like, but the eight albums above are a good best-of-Joni-primer. According to my dissonant-French-romantic-ears.

In the interview she is direct, smart, honest, revealing, a bit maddening (with that cigarette and her occasional crankiness) but she always is brave.  As she says, she was not mollycoddled growing up. She mentions, more than once, her fighting Irish blood. The Irish blarney that runs through her head that she captures. The Irish are a wordy musical bunch. Glad she tapped into it.

Watch it. She's inspiring. Joni turns 70 in November. She boldly faces things as they are. Frankly, life without Joni would have been a ride I would not have wanted.

Joni Interview

(Side note: She reminds me of my mother-in-law. Something about the eyes and the self-honesty.)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Charles Ives Take Me Home

Sometimes, you get a couple of free tickets and you just go because you like something about the title. My first play had a Charles Ives piece in it that purposefully and uncomfortably stopped the entire action of the story (for which the head of the drama department at Tufts said "You can't stop a play like that."  I disagree.)

I was apt to like Charles Ives Take Me Home.  It was fantastic. 75 minutes. Daughter basketball coach and Father violinist don't quite get along. And Charles Ives is the referee. Physically and spiritually. 

It's a story about blind spots and the obsessions that leave you further blind.  The writing is fresh and sharp. The story is not exactly new, emotionally, but it is a very particular take. The acting is so damn strong by all three actors. I haven't seen that kind of full-on acting in a long time. Nothing held back. Fully committed. And they have to do seriously difficult things on stage. Basketball, violin, piano.   The direction was lovely and tight.

Three thumbs up.  At The Rattlestick.

By Jessica Dickey
Directed by Daniella Topol
With Drew McVety, Kate Nowlin, Henry Stram
Through June 29.  


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sunday, June 09, 2013


Watching the Tony Awards was completely enjoyable. Knowing so many of these people and watching them win, it’s lovely.

When they keep talking on television that it’s “a community,” they really aren’t kidding.

I have to commend the show makers. They put on a big piece of fun stuff. Neil hosted wonderfully, as usual. 

Very celebratory.

My greatest congrats to Pam M. and Michael R.

Everyone works hard. It’s a vibrant culture and economy. It does do good things.

I love fat chords. 

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Six Years Late---but Worth Mentioning: 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

Is it wrong to plug a film that came out six years ago?

I say no.

See this.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

It's so brutally good. You have to like your movies well made, incredibly tough minded, uncomfortable, realistically suspenseful (not some tarted up narrative to make you wonder in a fake way) and so well acted, you'd swear you were just watching people living their awful awful lives in 1987 Romania under the brutal Ceausescu communist regime.

We loved it. You truly have no idea what's going to happen. There are takes that last forever. Oh the long scene! How fantastic. And then there are other shots when the important scene is real far away and you get a foreboding willy because you are not close enough to witness it.

A complete misery. But ultimately, these two friends make it work. What a mess!

If you are squeamish or not so into movies about abortion (Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention, this is a movie about abortion)...skip it.  Otherwise, put it on your queue. Two thumbs up.

Hey--it won the Palme D'Or.

This ain't yo' momma's Vera Drake. Get ready for it.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013


When I was a child I wanted almost nothing. This is true. I don’t know why. At Christmas, I’d circle about twenty things in the catalogue. I’d get a few of them. Other than Christmas, I did not ask for much.

I did not want position.

I did not want or need friends.

I was completely content.

Because of this, I noticed everything.

I eventually wanted a guitar and an aquarium. I got them. These two things kept me busy for ten years.

I think when you have less, you notice more. I think the noticing makes you smarter. Of course, being young is the time when your brain is fully plastic and you are absorbing things like crazy anyway. So I may be conflating.

But more to the point, I think being in a state of wanting is a state of contraction. This state of contraction certainly makes you less able to notice things, to take on new information.

Clearly, being Westerners, the whole system is fueled by individual desires. This will not change.

Maybe the thing to desire is to desire a world that has much less in it. Less distraction. Less.

I never developed a deflecting skin.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013


It has been said (by someone) that what men fear most is humiliation and what women fear most is rape. (And what women in India fear the most is gang rape?)

Every man will face humiliation in his lifetime. A woman has a better chance of not facing her ultimate fear.

This, of course, could make a girl less worried. But she would be silly to take on such a relaxed posture.

Anyone looking for more information on world rape statistics can take a gander here   even if Wikipedia is a questionable source.

What is striking is that Norway, NORWAY, has the following statistic:
One in Ten women in Norway are raped. 

As for that little country just south of Canada:
One of six U.S. women has experienced an attempted or completed rape.

Rape is often connected with alcohol and drug use. Sweden has a high incidence of rape.

Rape in India is one of the leading crimes against women in the subcontinent.

It is obviously an outrageous thing that is happening on earth.  “The women asked for it,” is a common refrain.

It seems to me that women should be allowed to carry an arsenal of weapons in this world. Not because I believe in weaponry, but because there is no way that 51% of the world’s population can be protected by the miniscule number of male-dominated law enforcers.

It is appalling. I do believe in GMO humans if the y-gene tampering stops the raping.

I can handle the endless small, medium and large humiliations of my life, being male. I could not handle being raped. The ultimate intimidation, the ultimate crime, really.

Monday, June 03, 2013

The Fluid Five

In the 80s and 90s, it was touted that you could do anything if you set your mind to it and that poor people were poor because they were lazy.

A big war in Iraq is in our history that the next few generations will pay for—and China is gobbling up the oil.

Summer storms are here in New York. Often feels tropical.

Following and living by Dogma, though calming to the psyche, is actually a shallow experience (that many pretend is profound).

It is easy to be happy—but first, avoid all experts.