Friday, October 29, 2010

The Mall Does What It's Supposed to Do

A comforting day was spent in Los Angeles. House stuff. Storage room stuff. Friends. At the mall. I understand why malls are popular. They are safe zones. And they are mild. But what is even better---and it's so cliche---is the weather. WTF with this Southern California weather? It's like, it's so nice out, how can't you simply be completely happy? And it's going to be nice out again, immediately? Damn.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Burbank: It's Easy Here

The best thing about Burbank is it is not fancy. When you are eating the meatloaf sandwich at the Corral Cafe you know you are having an existential okayness. And onion rings. Look, I don't want to be fancy. And Burbank is the perfect place not to be fancy. Plus, have you heard about the weather in Southern California? Yeah, they're not kidding.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

To Fight

Our apartment in Queens has gone into contract. This means---we have sold the apartment and now we shoot toward closing.

What held it up was the buyer’s lawyer. A litigator (and why our buyer chose an old litigator instead of a real estate lawyer is just silly)---held things up for a bit.

Fighters like to fight. What I have learned from my entire East Coast experience is that I really have no interest in fighting. Frankly, I think it’s stupid.

And really, when it comes to closing out a deal, it always happens when people are NOT fighting.

Why all this fighting? Everyone comes out ahead in this transaction. There truly is no need to fight.

What an old world aesthetic.


When do people let go of all that?

Onward. The world is opening up.

Monday, October 25, 2010



It is very strange to live somewhere that you know you will be leaving. You tend to not want to clean it. You feel “no future” toward the place. You simply want to let it go.

We have sold our coop in Queens. Though, the rate of movement of paperwork multiplied by the rate of decisive action in the borough of Queens is inversely proportional to the amplitude of my desire to get the hell out of here.

She’s a fine burgh. “The sports and transportation borough.” Real Estate is easy to grab here. It is in fact cheap. But with the cheap comes the problems of the cheap. Slow paperwork, as we now know. People with a different idea of what a cafĂ© is. Computer illiterates. Slow energy, overall. And an overall utilitarianism that is at once appealingly naive and spiritually stifling. The best three things about this neighborhood of Jackson Heights are 1. Great apartment stock. 2. Great old trees everywhere. 3. Just a fifteen minute subway ride to midtown.

And those were great things.

But then, you just sort of get sick of having to zip into Manhattan every time you want a decent meal or to hear English being spoken or to go to a book store or movie theatre.

So, we wait for “the apartment to close” which could take a month or four. And we keep living. In limbo. It is unpleasant. I am trying to find a way to make it pleasant. Like that feeling when you do not have to feel too weighed down. Or the feeling that anything is possible and the future is exciting. Or the feeling that you are handing over your finely appointed space to someone else who will be getting a whole new lease on life---an act of generosity. Or something.

I admire people who do things, cross them off their list, and do not feel them too much. Or if they do feel them, it is only that little “pop of completion” that gives them a hit of happiness. I feel the births and deaths of things a little larger than the average bear. And the state of Limbo seems to stretch that all out.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

A musical.

A clowning.

A history lesson.

A romp.

A rock show.

A bunch of improv turned into script, or something.

A Broadway theater tricked out with chandeliers and colored lights, like an 80’s video.

Some very funny cartooning of men-from-history.

Gay men jokes.

Childish antics.

Aesthetic ideology professed in the program that this is the kind of work this company does.


Comedy front loaded.

On the nose.

Nothing new.

Nothing too human, nothing too smart.

Great load of insane senators.

Timely. But why do that for this for that?

A romp?


This is the list I should use to write the review.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Social Network

We got around to seeing The Social Network tonight.

Look, it was fine. It was sort of television on a movie screen. Aaron Sorkin is good at getting a bunch of people to talk in a sort of believable way that is heightened, clever, etc. I don’t know. I find it quite distant from really being human.

Maybe he is drawn to writing about powerful people because it takes a certain removal of humanity to be powerful and he understands this for some reason or likes it for some reason.

It rubs me the wrong way. But I was engrossed. Like watching crinkly aluminum foil.

I experienced some nostalgia while watching this movie. I used to do some theatre stuff at Harvard in my early college days. Harvard was right down the street from my college and we had this cross arts thing going on. Harvard really was a clubby place filled with desperate nerds. I remember being in a play (Okay, Hair) and I had this strong feeling that every single woman in it wanted to be my girlfriend. They were a desperate bunch. Their ability to be subtle, socially, was simply not on the menu. It was almost as if one went after social encounters like one dove into everything else---full on with nothing in the way. It is actually kind of refreshing to think about it now. At the time, it was a complete turnoff. And not only because they were women.

It is fascinating that complete social retardation led to Facebook.

But that makes sense, too. A vacuum existed in this guy’s soul. So he filled it.

The movie kind of rambled on and on. It was the nerd-who-would-be-king story. Justin Timberlake, as the creator of Napster and Facebook seeder, came off as an odd duck and he wore too much makeup. Jesse Eisenberg, the lead, was basically a jerk, full-on, but in many ways played the true depiction of the on-the-edge-of-Aspergers types we have all known and loved. He did it very well.

The supporting cast was just fine. The twins were weird. Andrew Garfield was cute.
Fincher directed well.

You could watch this on television. Do so.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

American Idiot

I finally got to see American Idiot, the musical that uses the Green Day music from, you know, American Idiot.

It’s a great concert musical. But something about a musical on Broadway automatically takes the edge off the original intent of the source material. No matter how well done. Watching performers up there performing is very performy.

However, it was good for an older dude like me to hear this music since, of course, I have not heard it before because I am still mostly listening to Joni Mitchell and Muskrat Love.

The three main characters are sketchily defined as follows: The guy who has to stay back because he knocked up his girlfriend, the guy who leaves town and becomes a heroin addict, and the guy who goes to war and loses a leg. Sadly, that’s all I can say about any of them.

The three main guys are surly, hurt and fucked up. They have lots of feelings and act on understandable intention to get out of the bad lives they were born into. However, they exhibit no native intelligence and it is up to the street smart women to teach them a tiny bit, but this is, truly, ever so tiny.

They are redeemed by the end by the simple act of living and learning and “By the strength of a good woman.” Old trope. Kind of lazy.

The play, really, is not a play. But as a live music video it is fabulous. And the talent, as always, is top drawer.

Michael Mayer, director and book writer, is a biz friend of mine. And as a friend, I say to him: Next time you put a play together, think more deeply about the characters. Or hire Bjork to write the book, or me. The idea is fun. But one could use a bit more meat on those bones. Additionally, the lower middle class is hard to get right without it seeming all angsty or silly.

I do not exactly relate to the lower middle class. I understand the choices are limited for these people and they are pissed off and are naturally drawn to angry punk music. Hell, I’m pissed off about my limited choices and I’ve been to college and every few years take a trip to Paris. But what always surprises me about the lower middle class is this: since one in that class truly is getting completely fucked over and enslaved, why not figure out a way to foment change? And then I realize it. They are Republicans. And really, the only way they will ever have better lives is if they were to live in a socialist society. Or something approaching it. So they are the victims of our market economy, yet they have completely bought into the myth of the market economy. Sad. They choose exactly what causes them pain. Not that I’m promoting socialism here… ;) But I do not understand people who have such a load of angst, yet do not see they are actually the cause of much of it. This blind spot, to me, renders them immature, very reactive and poor.

I liked the ballads most of all. I always do. I like an easy guitar chord sequence and a lyrical melody line. Why not? It is so pleasing.

Overall, I would say go see it. You can get halfies at TKTS or TDF. It is worth it. It is always good to hear talented singers singing good music. And visually, well, it's all TV screens and ladders and wires and circus. Everyone likes a circus.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

This Is What I'm Talking About

It is moving. It really is. But then, why wait so long to have these feelings? Is it a gay ham thing? (Lord knows, I have one of those in me.)

Help the children! Help the gay children! Gay Kiddies: It does get better.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Is It Me?

Is it just me, or does anyone else have a problem with watching grown gay men cry while saying it gets better?

I have nothing against crying, but if you are going to be a public leader---would it not be better to be past the crying stage about being bullied as a gay kid?

Look—I’ve cried plenty. But when you sit in front of kids and tell them, “Don’t Worry, It Gets Better…” But you’re still a heap of sopping tears, well, what the hell kind of signal is that?

When I was a kid and I saw an adult crying, I thought one of two things---someone died or someone was about to.

I thought the crying Texan councilman was certainly cute and sweet and honest. And I was moved. Truly. But I do not believe that all forms of public crying lead to the greatest good for our kids.

That was a peer speech. Not a kid speech. As a peer, I related. But if I had been a gay kid---I would have looked at that youtuber and thought, It Gets Better? How? You’re crying at work.

So---yes, kids, it gets better. But I think it best that we cry at home and then go out there, happy, because, yes, it got better.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Android Freak and Gimme

I did it, I bought it, I love it, why did I wait so long?

Because I’m cheap!

But more than that, really. I do not like to run out and buy something right away. I hate Beta anything. And there is always a part of me that thinks, “Is this really the way things are going? Let’s just hold on a second here.”

That thinking makes me a little conservative. But add onto that, I hate landfill. Proudly, I can say that I have never thrown out an old electronic. I always sell the suckers on Ebay. Sure, they end up in some horrific landfill of concentrated-heavy-metals-child-cancer-causing heap, eventually. But, hell, at least I postponed one little hunk of garbage for a little while.

I shouldn’t be so precious. I’m hard on my electronics. For every 0 times my Recognized-by-the-State-of-California-Domestic-Partner’s hard drive has crashed, mine has crashed at least 5.

And phones---well, they never last more than two years, right? They just don’t. And you drop them. And eventually, they just don’t have the technology or the gumption to carry on.

So this Android phone---I got the one by Samsung---the Samsung Captivate (what a horrible name!) is sleek and amazing and I sort of can’t believe what is happening to me. I know all you crackberry people have been up to the very last second with your email and shit forever. But I was always set up like this: Do I want to click that check email button right now? Nah. I’ll wait ‘til I get home. But now, well, I just let the emails fly in like everyone else. Hell, you can let the Facebook posts fly in, all the comments that your friends make, all day long. Who needs a job or a relationship when your phone won’t stop gurgling and bleeping?

I usually do disconnect the updating thing. It really is too distracting. And novelties do wear off. (Oh we monkey minded people love the new! It’s a side effect of our opportunity seeking.)

I do love the seamlessness. Now I never have to worry if my stuff is all in sync, because it IS all in sync just by connecting to the cloud. Hi clouds! And I have GSyncit synching my Outlook and my Google stuff. So, you know, it’s all good, all over the place, the same. Yay! (I like folders and the alphabet.)

So now, I am asking you. What is your favorite Android Ap? Just tell me. I like travel, the card game Hearts, memory things, French-English dictionaries, organizer things, solitaire, knowledge stuff, music news, art-search type whatevs, you name it. So gimme what you got!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Through the Night

Go see it. At the Union Square Theatre. ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT. It is written by and stars Daniel Beaty. Yes, it’s a one-man show, one guy, doing many characters that are all connected by a health food store, a church and a record company. All black characters as Daniel is black and has some things to say about that very thing. And it is about rising up into empowerment in a society that traditionally kept you down. And it is about stopping the bullshit of being on the down-low and getting your scared black ass out of the closet.

The snarkier part of me wants to say, “Yeah, and?”

But the better part of me, the one who sat at the theatre and watched it (with some great kids who loved it!) cried. Not stupid crying. Just deep attentive crying. In response to what was going on, really.

Look---you don’t know what it’s like to be a black gay man (unless you do). And you don’t know what it’s like to be black, in general (unless you do). And really---rising up is not easy for anyone. It just isn’t.

And let’s ask this. What is it about black culture that brings them so much great use of language, poetry and music? Really, you hate to be all stereotyping…but this guy was out of control in that department in this way that is just not-white. He is so lucky, to be allowed to be an artist who is allowed to tap into his most-natural-best-self. I am envious. Okay, I’ll do it, too. Tomorrow. No now.

Great direction and design. Clear and crisp and visually sharp.

Go see THROUGH THE NIGHT. I think the title is bland. I can barely remember it. But the show is anything but. The Union Square Theatre is at 17th and Park Avenue.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Henry Wolfe

Friends! Get onto iTunes and buy the complete works of Henry Wolfe. He is a great musician with a great voice.

Now look---I know there’s a lot of “nouvelle carnival music” out there. But his is a cut above…because he has humanity. It’s not just show. He’s hooked up. And he is a great song writer.

I particular like Buzzards. But there are so many others. The Blue House on iTunes, get it.

Tonight, I saw and heard Henry play at JOE’s PUB. His band is solid. Look---the way the DIY musicians do it is by getting bloggers like me to stand up and say THIS ONE, here!

He opened for April Smith and the Last Picture Show. She’s great, and also a bit carnival-beat, but more show, less truth. Big voice.

Henry is more subtle, which I always like.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Beliefs: For?

Emotional Pain is only the death of an erroneously held belief.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Russian Whores

It’s not like I want to disparage an entire country and its former satellites…it is intellectually unsound and aesthetically beat.

But this New York City has a Eastern Euro, dare I say, Russian vibe that entices bar owners and restaurateurs to gild their businesses with large suburban tile, overly dramatic lighting and large screen televisions.

Highly made up woman trawling the streets of Soho in pashminas, people making out at the bar, all of it, makes me a bit queasy.

But who am I to judge? Should everything be a mirror of my existence? Gap cotton clothing and uninspired shoes?

But I beg of you. Why can’t it all be like Yountville or Vence?

I ask you.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Local Sycamore Does No Wrong

Still, the only thing I care about: trees. This is a sycamore at night just down leafy 81st Street here in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York. Clearly, I only had my bad phone camera. But still, look at it! Strong. With a serious scar that is completely healed. This is the greatness of sycamores. You can hack off a very thick branch and the tree won't mind. It just goes, "Uh-huh, I'll have that covered over in a few years."

People want to come back as this or that. I'd be a tree any day.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Sales Time

After listing our apartment in Queens online (Craigslist) this is the amount of inquiries that we have received to see the apartment: 0

So it is high time we call a realtor, which I did, the one who got us two bids in one week the last time we listed the apartment.

Here she comes.

She takes 6% of the sale, which sort of makes my white flesh crawl. On the other hand, 94% is not a bad amount as long as she pushes this donkey high up the ladder.

I hate to be so crass, but I am.

If anyone wants to buy this groovin’ pad before 12PM East Coast Time, do come forward. It will be cheaper than when the realtor posts it.

Until then, I hope everyone is living the life they want to live in the space they want to live it in surrounded by mammals they feel are perfect at this time.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


I like the clouds. I like the way everything is underneath them. I like how the light is. I like how blue everything looks. I am happy for the cover.

I like the sun, too. But I’ve never liked direct sunlight. I love Los Angeles, but mostly when the sun is setting. Midday, I always found it to be too much.

We are tree primates who gradually made our way onto the plains. But we were hairier back then.

Sometimes, I wish I was that hairy, though, having had a little doggy for years that was very hairy, and having to get it cut all the time, you wonder what the evolutionary advantage of that mop was.

I wonder why dogs don’t get rickets. Maybe they get their vitamin D another way.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Fag Killers

I went to the Suffern Free Library when I was in high school to look for books about gay people. I was feeling kind of gay and I was concerned.

Among the stacks was this fabulous book from Denmark about gay men who were living happy lives, with pictures, all of it. They were black and white photos. The guys were, you know, Danish, so they were mostly tall and blond and seemed more foreign than gay. The thrust of the book was, “Being gay is cool. These guys are doing it. So can you.” It was the 70’s.

I cannot remember if I checked the book out and brought it home or not. I don’t think I did. But I do remember thinking this as I walked down a little street we called ONE WAY because the only marker was a one way sign, “Sure, they can be gay. They live in Scandinavia!”

I was not amused, in fact, the book further depressed me. There was something so macho, so football, so aggressive about the United States, reading about greasy haired Danish men with a predilection for cock was not going to change any of that.

But hear this---I was not going to kill myself for being bullied. And I will tell you why. Because I’m a badass.

Now, I was lucky because I was semi to very popular growing up at different periods of time. I was friendly and I truly liked people. I was very shy in elementary school but that kind of flew open in the Fifth Grade and I never looked back. (Though I do still prefer to spend hours alone every day.) But none of that could change the fact that underneath it all, I was very depressed.

Of course, I soldiered on, went to college and kind of blew it big time---too many drugs kind of thing---but again, I survived because I was a badass. I just felt this enormous desire to live and to live well.

But what about all these kids who are NOT badasses? There were days when I felt so shitty about myself, and was SO WORRIED about what would happen to me, that suicide would come into my mind. But again, since I was a badass, I would say, “Fuck you suicide. I want to go to Paris again.”

So this is what I suggest we teach young gay people. This is based on a sample of one: me. Teach your gay kids some anger. They do not have to fight. They do not have to carry weapons. They do not have to scream or curse. But let them know they can be badasses. If someone starts to bully them, let them know they can use their anger to stand up, walk away and find an adult (or cool friends) who will stand by their side.

Also---let your gay kid know that even though they feel horrendously isolated--and gay kids are. It’s awful—there will always be a very funny clever girl who is a little bit overweight who will be happy to have them for a friend.

I do not believe harassment causes suicide. I think keeping things under wraps does.

The advantage of being gay is you get to learn at a very young age that from a distance, people are fearful and treacherous. Being an outsider is a great way to learn about the human race. And there are other outsiders you can hang with who will have a similar bead on things. There is strength to be gained from learning about human nature at a young age. Plus, being a minority falls into the category of “adversity” and we know that adversity is a necessary ingredient for creativity and success.

When I was a senior in high school, I went into a bathroom stall (nervous stomach always---‘cause I was so upset about who I was) and there I saw scratched into the metal divider of the dark blue paint (I can still smell that bathroom) was the following:

“For a great blow job, call Donald Cummings. 357-3651”

That was my real phone number. And I was called Donald. I got on the bus to go home and I was so depressed. But you know what? I cannot remember if I scratched it out. I may have. But I may have also left it there. Because it was true.

To all the people who ever harassed me as a kid for being “light in the loafers,” “a faggot,” “a sissy,” “a bad ball player,” “a singer,” any of it…all I have to say is this: Go shoot or hang YOURSELF but before you do, tell your awful children to leave my fabulous children alone…or I will flatten them. ‘Cause I’m a badass.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Hunt Continues

Saturday, we went apartment hunting in Manhattan, that little island off the coast of New Jersey. It was a series of grotesque actions followed by a large EUREKA! Followed by a bad meal and a relinquishing.

First of all---why would someone show you an apartment for 2100 bucks a month that is on the first floor with views of nothing but garbage cans and in order to get into the kitchen, you have to suck yourself in, flat as a planaria, in order to slither past the suburban sized refrigerator sticking two and half feet into the doorway?

Then, why would someone bring you to an apartment that was already rented out?

Then, why would someone bring you to another apartment that you couldn’t get into?

Lastly, why would someone show you an apartment that is, truly, a tomb, that no Paxil lick, no matter how big enough, could ever bring you back to joyful life?

After all those, we looked at a huge place, with plenty of light, on way upper Broadway and 102 Street. Nice neighborhood. But strollers, like packs of wild coyotes, come at you with a ravenous lope that is almost impossible to second guess. We decided we had to take this apartment anyway, that we would never see anything like it that large again for the price offered. But after some serious thought, we thought, nope. Too far, too straight, too Who Cares?

So, we are technically not at all homeless, but it sort of feels that way.

It was good to get back to the easy-sage-and-pink of our Queens manse of 400 square feet.

Tune in tomorrow when you may here me say, “Are those mice from the lab next door?”
or “I love this bathroom, now stop with the gag and show me the real one.” Or, “Okay, all I need is 750K for this co-op and I can forever live like a college student but never again have to worry about my rent going up, just the maintenance fees?” And then perhaps, “If Los Angeles is so awful, why is everyone there so happy? Or is that only the cashiers at Tranny Rite-Aid?”

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