Thursday, June 22, 2017

The 'Family' Circus

Bummed to read about the closing of yet another chapter in L.A. gay history -- Circus of Books in West Hollywood, which will call it a day in December after 57 years in busines. (A Different Light has been gone for years. The Studio One building is at risk of being demolished and my beloved French Quarter Market Place is histoire.) I can remember spending many afternoons and nights perusing the shelves looking for the latest Johnny Davenport spreads back in the day -- my friend Danny remembers it as a place you'd go after an "unsuccessful bar night" -- and how the sleazy store on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and La Jolla Avenue provided the exclamation point for my first romance in the City of Angels. 

I moved to Southern California on Cinco de Mayo 1990, having packed up my broken heart and what worldly possessions could fit in a 1983 VW Rabbit convertible. My best friend from Madison Heights (Mark) lived in Huntington Beach with his roommate Doug and kindly agreed to let me crash with them until I found a job and an apartment of my own. Mark had taken to chatting with guys on those free party lines, so on my second night in town I decided to give it a whirl -- and instantly "fell" for a guy with a sexy deep voice and a willingness to listen. For about the next two weeks, "John" and I would talk for hours on the phone -- often falling asleep together -- discussing (what else?) our impending erotic sex life and planning when and where we were finally going to bring our budding relationship to life. While we'd exchanged nothing but verbal descriptions of ourselves, we just knew we were meant to be. 

Besides sex, one of the big topics on our minds was the impending release of Madonna's "I'm Breathless," for which the entire gay community was on tenterhooks waiting since hearing "Vogue" in March. On the night of May 22, John called me to say he'd gotten his copy on CD -- he must have been rich! -- and he played little snippets of all the songs for me as we spent another love struck evening "together." (We both agreed "Sooner of Later" and "Now I'm Following You" were the winners.) Although it had only been a couple of weeks, I was getting antsy and was ready to move forward with things. (How do those people on "Catfish" talk for eight years without meeting?) I'd left Phoenix to start "fresh" without saying goodbye to hardly a soul, but something about my exciting new life consisting of nothing but talking on the phone with a total stranger already wasn't cutting it for me. John assured me he was eager to take things to the next level, too -- promising me it would all be worth the wait because he had developed "real" feelings for me -- then finally suggested we meet in the parking lot of Circus of Books that Friday night. (He's be on the black Harley.) Although I may have been a tad desperate -- having had my heart broken yet again by my college boyfriend -- I could not be serious about having this whirlwind romance finally come together behind an adult bookstore, and I never spoke to him again. (My decision was later bolstered when I learned the area was known as Vaseline Alley.) I wonder if Nev and Max could finally make this happen!

Magazine Rack

What you're missing by no longer subscribing to magazines:

The Red Bulletin: Charlie Hunnam gets candid about being picked on as a kid

Esquire: Kit Harrington already died once

Elle magazine: Kate McKinnon is a once-in-a-generation comedic force

Rolling Stone: Fun to see Rachel Maddow on the cover, even if it doesn't have a fraction of the prestige it once did

Vanity Fair: Behind the scenes of one of Carrie Fisher’s final "Star Wars" photoshoots 

Modern Luxury Weddings: Why are all male models straight yet look so gay in spreads?

Entertainment Weekly: Wait'll you see a Speedo-clad Ricky Martin as Versace's lover in "American Crime Story"!

Time magazine: Will Robert Mueller separate fact from fiction?

The National Enquirer: Gee, how ever did he pull off this most difficult feat? 

Song of the Day: 'YMCA' by Boy George

Who better to cover the Village Boy classic than the Culture Club leader? What starts off pretty joyless sure turns itself around!

Morning Wood

Page 1 Roundup (06/22)

The New York Post: MTA board members admit agency mismanaged money as ‘emergency’ declared 

The Daily News: NYC teen charged with beating baby daughter into coma expecting second child, tearfully denies battering tot 

The New York Times: Abortion Adds Obstacle as Republicans Plan to Unveil Health Bill 

The Wall Street Journal: Japan Wants Tourists, Except Those in Mario Costumes Driving Go-Karts 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Home Is Where the Heart Is

It's been an incredibly rough year. (And my poor mom is not doing well at all.) But despite the state of family -- and the state of the nation and world -- I haven't lost sight of the fact that I am very fortunate in many, many ways. Especially lucky to have a home with Damian and this addition, whose one-year anniversary we are celebrating today!

Revisiting 'Silence = Death' Three Decades Later

The Village Voice caught up with the five surviving NYC activists who created the "Silence = Death" poster -- including gay Zelig and my pal Jorge Socarrás -- to recall its origins and hear about new social-justice-driven art they are creating. Reading the piece made me feel like I had been transported in time, to a hopeless place I wish never existed:
This is a to-do list from 1986, written in the journal of Avram Finkelstein, then an art director with Vidal Sassoon. He and five comrades — Brian Howard, Oliver Johnston, Charles Kreloff, Chris Lione, and Jorge Socarrás — had gathered over several months to provide support for one another in the face of AIDS, and in doing so came up with an idea for a poster to address the epidemic then decimating their world. Their eventual creation — a pink triangle set against a black background, with the words “Silence = Death” below it — would several months later end up wheatpasted on walls throughout the city, and would eventually be used by the then-nascent activist group ACT UP (with permission from the poster’s creators) as its central visual. 
The origins of Silence = Death, which stands alongside We Shall Overcome, Sí Se Puede, We Are the 99%, and #blacklivesmatter as a touchstone of social justice movements, can be traced to a New York diner in 1985.
 Read on HERE.

Charles Krelo, Avram Finkelstein, Jorge Socarrás, Brian Howard, Chris Lione, and Oliver Johnston meet at Krelo's Chelsea apartment during the winter of 1987

Wrestle Wednesday

Two orders of fries with that shake HERE.

The Legal Lynching of Philando Castile

If the truth will set you free, what do we have to say to stop this deadly double standard

From HERE.

Song of the Day: 'Have Fun Tonight' by Fischerspooner

Via Spin: New York electro-pop duo Fischerspooner are back with their first new music in eight years. They’ve released a new single, “Have Fun Tonight,” which is the first release toward their upcoming album SIR, due out Sept. 22 on Ultra Records. Michael Stipe is producing the album, and has a co-writing credit on “Have Fun Tonight.” 

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