Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Triumph of the Quill (Or, Gamey Gays Gay It Up Gamely)

Jessica, my best friend in high school and one of my favorite people on the planet, was in town for the weekend visiting from Chicago.

A girly femme Lesbian, stand-up comic and community organizer, Jessica is as gaymous as they come in Chi-town. She was trying to get me to come to Chicago for the Gay Games this summer.

There are certain sports I don't mind watching, but I'm hardly a sports enthusiast.

I asked:

"Since it's the Gay Games, what kind of events are there?"

"I don't know. But maybe you should join a team!"

"Like what? Competitive Backstabbing?"

My mind momentarily wandered off to other possible Gay Games Events:

Rhythmic Bitchslapping

Synchronized Boyfriend Stealing

Full-Contact Low-Carb Dieting

White Sale Shopping

Decorating the Midcentury Modern Home

Witty Banter

And, of course, the perennial favorite:

High-Impact Gossip

Saturday, January 28, 2006


This week, Buffalo Void is one year old.

There have been ups.

There have been downs.

There have been laughs.

There have been complete misfires.

There have been triumphs of the human spirit.

There have been disasters.

Mostly, there's just been practice.

So, here's to keep on keepin' on.

3x hearts,

Friday, January 27, 2006

Romantic Comedy Seeks Same Sex

Now that the romantic comedy genre has buckled under the collective weights of "Need for Big Opening Weekend", "Chick Flick Appeal", and the misshaped creative fruits of groupthink decision making, it has arisen from the ashes with a new paradigm:

"The third leg of the romantic triangle should be...a woman!"

"Champagne for everyone!"


"Sounds hot!"

"Very hot!"

"Don't forget, 'Unrated Version' DVD sales are always through the roof!"

"Meeting adjourned."

"Oh, yes. Let's not forget, guys: we have to title it something catchy."

"Like Cinderella...something."


"How about...Boy Meets Girl Meets Girl...Girl on Girl on Guy?"

"Tough sell on the marquee."

"Song title?"


"I'm thinking....sixties...romantic."

"Yes! Yes!"

"How about something from the Beatles?"

"Too expensive. Copyright issues."

"Hmmm...let's call another meeting next week."

"Great, man. Still on for golf this weekend?"

"Nah, my wife is taking a scrapbooking class on Robertson. Next weekend, for sure!"

Oh, yeah. Imagine Me & You opens today.

All I have to say is, the bitches better stay together at the end.

Hasbians are so late 1990s.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Sweet, Candid Chit Chat

Ever since Dolly Parton's new gym opened its remodeled, reshaped, and remarketed digs in my 'hood, all the 'mos have run like muppets down 23rd street, fleeing their now less-than-glam membership from ye olde gayass sports club.

My gym has drifted decidedly downmarket ever since Dolly busted onto the scene. There are even (yes, yes, y'all) a number of straight guys who work out there now.

I won't even get into the new ladies who have joined the gym, pumping their thighs delightfully on eliptical trainers in support hose.

Today, I had the pleasure of hearing this sweet, candid chit chat between two trainers in the locker room:

DUDE 1: Oh yeah, man. You got to get facial hair.

DUDE 2: For real?

DUDE 1: Chicks love it.

DUDE 2: Yeah?

DUDE 1: My one friend, he can't grow it. He all got his momma's eyeliner and he...

DUDE 2: Hells no.

DUDE 1: For real. He drew that shit on.

DUDE 2: What the fuck?

DUDE 1: Then he was kissin' some hottie. That shit got all over her.

DUDE 2: Awww!

DUDE 1: But you know why bitches love facial hair?

DUDE 2: 'Cause they can feel it all up on their asses.

DUDE 1: What?

DUDE 2: Y'know. They can feel whiskers all on their ass when you're....

DUDE 1: Yo. Not their ass. They like to feel whiskers on their pussies.

DUDE 2: Oh.

DUDE 1: You're fuckin' freaky. Lick some girl's butt.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A Belated Best Of (Abridged Version)

A few weeks ago, I was all hot and bothered to compile a "Best Of..." list of films from the past year. There were quite a few films that I liked and rocked my world momentarily. But there's only one that I know will linger in my memory for quite some time: Wong Kar Wai's 2046.

Sure, it's slow.

Sure, it's a little on the style-over-substance end of things.

However, it is lush and ecstatic and lyrical and romantic and harsly realistic all at once. In other words, in my mind, it's damn near perfect.

Wong Kar Wai's next project is a remake of Orson Welles' The Lady From Shanghai - which should be interesting to say the absolute least. I'm not a big fan of remakes, but I have a feeling Wong Kar Wai will do something amazing with it. The famous last scene (the "Hall of Mirrors" shootout) is as heady a dialogue between fractured truths and the slipperiness of identity as it is a stunning visual feat.

Oh, yeah - the gravy: Nicole Kidman is set to star in the Rita Hayworth role.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

"Subjectivity (Or, A 'Fiction')"

"I don't like this."

"Can we tone this down?"

"Can we make this pop more?"

"Well...what if we changed this?"

"Let's do a few more versions."

"I liked the first version."

"I liked the second version."

"I liked the 19th version."

"Let's go back to the first version."

"Can we make this bigger? It's too small. I can't see it."

"Can we make this smaller? It's so big. It's overwhelming."

"I like this. Do you like this?"

"I don't like this at all. What do you think?"

"Did I ask for this?"

"Where's the unicorn I asked for? Where is it?"

"Why is this blue? Where did you get that blue from? I wanted aquamarine. This isn't aquamarine. Aquamarine would be so much better here."

"This isn't my kind of thing, but I suppose how I would see some people would like it."

"This is good. The only thing I would change is...wait, should I email you the list? It's itemized."'

"Don't forget the unicorn. I want that unicorn."

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Night Nora Ephron Cruised Me (Or, Crazy-Eye Salad)

On Friday night, I swear, Nora Ephron cruised me at Japonica.

I was having sushi with my friend Jeremy, just before rushing to see the lovely and subtle When the Sea Rises at the Cinema Village. Jeremy was telling a funny story about a mutual friend of ours and my laugh exploded across the room, as it is wont to do, oh, on a daily or hourly or minutely basis. Just after the echo of my chortle reverbed back to me, I caught the eye of a svelte older woman across the room.

I recognized her angular beauty from book jackets and press junkets and TV commentaries.

It was Nora Ephron.

I have been a huge fan of her writing since I was in high school, when I first read her hilariously bitter novel Heartburn.

Her stare lingered a while. I wasn't sure if it was the low, midwestern largesse of my laugh or the massive piece of yellowfin tuna hanging out of my mouth, but she wasn't looking away. Our eyes locked.

Throughout dinner, I would glance over at her table to see if she was looking back at me.

She was.

Every time I looked at her.

When she and her husband got up to leave, our eyes met for the last time in a confusing showdown.

It was hard to tell if our stare-off had to do with genuine mutual interest, or if she was silently tagging me as a semi-crazed homo who had scooped her identity as she traipsed off her usual beaten path of the Upper West Side.

I imagined her jotting this down in a teeny, stealth writer-at-restaurant sort of notebook: idea for next screenplay...loud-laughing, bearish homosexual attacks famous writer heroine with his crazy eyes over sushi.

Or, maybe not.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

O! Pioneers! (Or, When You Care Enough to Send the Scary Breast)

Through the magic and mystery of the internet, I received this email entitled "Hey! Handsome!" from my new, but clearly unknown, best friend Ennis:

If you have ever wonder what a slutty cash strapped teens will do for some extra money.
See it all here.
You'll never believe what these slutty girls do for some extra cash!

Thoughtful, and so sweet.

Nothing like a grammatically challenged invitation to view illegal, heterosexual pornography to brighten my day.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Fallon In Love Again (Or, Shits and Giggles from a Summer Night)

This past summer, (yes, on Fire Island) my friend Robert and I were under the influence of some mighty strong pastries that were, um, under the influence of a little something-something.

Vagaries aside, the baked goods got us baked.

And then some.

We were up late in our room, giggling like wee school girls, watching Dynasty on the Soap Network on a teeny white television.

Did I mention we were on Fire Island?

Beside ourselves in the throes of mid-to-early 1980s glamour, we were enthralled with Pamela Sue Martin as Fallon, all coked-out skinny in off the shoulder gowns and great bangs.

Just before Fallon got mowed down by a stray Mercedes at the tailend of a cliffhanger episode, I whelped out:

"Omigod. Fallon is so Marc Jacobs."

Doubled over with laughter, we could barely breathe as poor Fallon, in well-lit gauzy close-up, screamed out for her dear, well-made-up, Nolan Miller sequined poofy-sleeved life as the luxe white Mercedes barreled down the Denver-by-way-of-Los-Angeles looking street.

Did I mention the baked goods?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Alarm Call

Three Minutes of the Condor

What does it mean
When you pause, midmotion
To see Robert Redford,
Smooth as cream,
A hot 70s tangerine,
Getting out of a sedan
Near the ocean?

A waking dream, maybe.
A fevered flashback about the sea.
Is it live or Memorex? Could be.
All blonde and tinted tan,
He's walking toward you.

He's wet with a stare
All chest, all eyes, all hair
He's curious in skin-tight trunks,
A chain, and musky aftershave.

You sit still and wait
He moves with the gait
Of someone who worships
The feats of his own reflection.

He looks down, wants to talk
But you're stuck, mid-stalk.
Seems to him, you're just working
Too hard with some lotion.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Leap From the Page (Or, A Weak Week Weakly)

Now that my mother has a smokin' new iMac with a speedy cable modem connection, she's all over this site like white on rice.

Or, brown on brown rice.

Anyway, last week's joke commercial entry about Catatonia™ got her laughing.

And then got her emailing.

And then got her calling.

"Are you OK?"

"Are you depressed?"

"Do you need anti-depressants?"

"Do you need a boyfriend?"

"Do you need to get laid?"

And so on, and so forth down the rabbit hole of parental concern.

Granted, I was up to my ass in the throes of the Great Big January Funk, which prompted me to write the jokey entry, but I didn't need all that mommying, so I got mad.

I got mad like a bitch in a big Alexis Carrington bitch hat, sitting at the head of the boardroom table at Denver Carrington, pissed that my limo driver was late picking me up because he was too busy carousing with my slutty daughter Fallon...again.

Being a parent must be a funny, funny thing. You spend a big chunk of time (oh, 18 years or so), raising and loving your child, day in and out, and then one day....


The kid is gone.

Off to college or a job or a wife or a relationship or a life sometimes far away, geographically. Over time, the kid becomes more and more of an adult. But you, the parent left bewildered, still have that instinct to parent and coddle because, well, it was your job for such a long time.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Low Rent District Attorney (Or, A Much Belated Review)

I didn't review Rent when it came out because I was stunned for too long.

Not stunned in the sense of being in a catatonic state incapable of movement or thought due to sheer ecstacy.

Stunned in the sense of being in a catatonic state incapable of movement or thought due to sheer horror.

Since the movie opened just before the big post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas holiday party binge season, I had to hear mini-reviews of Rent at faggy cocktail parties and faggy dinner parties and waiting in line at the faggy liquor store, buying sundries on the way to said faggy cocktail and dinner parties.

Having to hear so many opinions on the movie (unfortunately on the "wasn't it, like so Fabulous, Bruce!" end of things), the cranky, bitchy, bitter old lady movie critic inside me bubbled up to the surface, blaring and cursing and snarling opinions at those passing by my chosen position, right next to the buffet or the bar at the aforementioned faggy soirees.

The Rent shenanigans got so bad, for a single weekend, I was a kind of anti-Rent District Attorney. Like the old bitch movie critic somehow got recast in a brief series hiatus as a bitchass prosecutor, in search of the hidden truths beneath the glitter and overplayed facade of lies, lies, lies. If I heard some fag say they liked the film version of Rent, I would question them hostilely ("What about that scene? It sucked. Didn't it. Didn't it!") until they caved and admitted - usually through tears - that it was a horrible movie.

Thing is, due to the fairly recent return of the movie musical (first, the inverted Dancer in the Dark and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the balls-out postmod mash-up Moulin Rouge! and the device-bolstered Chicago), moviemakers somehow feel that just about any popular stage show has the stuff of movie legend (or at the very least, box-office success) - without acknowledging that film is an entirely different animal than live performance.

It takes a lot more than a recording (and a regurgitation) with some expensive sets to get it right. Rent was dissappointing in that it made no consessions to the strength of film as a medium - it relied on the hope that the energy and allure of the original cast (as disturbingly too-old as they may be now for their parts) would carry the movie.

Well, it didn't.

All it did was confirm that the musical was dated and that the early 1990s was a strange time indeed for fashion.

Especially for drag queens.

Monday, January 16, 2006

This Is A Recording. (Or, Appearing Nitely On a Portable Turntable, 1981)

When I was a kid, I somehow got a hold of a copy of Lily Tomlin's album Appearing Nitely - maybe I checked it out from the public library.

In any case, for the time I had it (I know I didn't own it, because I'm sure I would never have let it go), I was audially glued to it. As my stepsister blared the Human League and the Cars and Blondie behind the closed, rainbow-stickered door of her white-canopied-and-pink-ruffled bedroom, I sat in my room on the floor listening to the album playing on a portable turntable - mesmerized.

The art of the comedy album is now long lost. They barely even appear on the radar any more and when they do, they are usually just recordings of live shows. Hopefully the onset of Podcasting will change how people respond to spoken word pieces and broadcasts.

I was thrilled to find CD reissues of Tomlin's Modern Scream and This Is a Recording on amazon.com a few years ago. I hadn't heard either album before, so I got to be that mesmerized kid all over again.

The New Resolve

Words of wisdom, courtesy of Mr. Johnny Cash:

How many times have
You heard someone say
If I had his money
I could do things my way

But little they know
That it's so hard to find
One rich man in ten
With a satisfied mind

Once I was winnin'
In fortune and fame
Everything that I dreamed for
To get a start in life's game

Then suddenly it happened
I lost every dime
But I'm richer by far
With a satisfied mind

Money can't buy back
Your youth when you're old
Or a friend when you're lonely
Or a love that's grown cold

The wealthiest person
Is a pauper at times
Compared to the man
With a satisfied mind

When my life has ended
And my time has run out
My friends and my loved ones
I'll leave there's no doubt

But one thing's for certain
When it comes my time
I'll leave this old world
With a satisfied mind

How many times have
You heard someone say
If I had his money
I could do things my way

But little they know
That it's so hard to find
One rich man in ten
With a satisfied mind

Sunday, January 15, 2006

America's Next Top Train Wreck

My friend Cathi is in trouble.

Cathi is in so much trouble, she wants to be a contestant on Tyra Banks' new daytime TV reality show, America's Next Top Train Wreck.

Inspired by her friend Sholandra's .05% pay increase victory in the recent New York City transit strike, Cathi went on strike herself today.

Picketing Charley O's on 32nd and 8th much to the confusion and dismay of all passing by, it finally hit her like a Jack-Daniels-and-Diet-Rite hangover:

Barflies don't have a union.

Her epiphany came just in time for Charley's famous happy hour though, so Cathi was able to get back on the clock, holding up her end of things with a fistfull of Virginia Slims Menthol Light 100s and a bar tab addled with 2-for-1 well drink specials.

It was then that she caught the eye of one of Tyra Banks' talent scouts.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

A Place in the Sun

In memory of Shelley Winters, who died today at 85.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Rest of 2005 (Or, Too Much Hustle and Blow)

The Top 10 Films of 2005, as determined by the editors of Buffalo Void:

Blow the Line
Lipsynching all of their own original recordings, Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix star as embattled future spouses Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey during their early years on the Boy-Band/TeenTit Pop curcuit. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson co-star as Ashlee Simpson. 'Papa' Joe Simpson directs.

Featuring an all-star cast. A journey into the heart of America's darkest corners via race relations in Old Canaan, Connecticut. Thrilled audiences across the country in its groundbreaking revelations - namely, everyone in America likes to yell racist slurs at each other, regardless of the context or situation.

Good Morning, America and Good Times
Shocking black-and-white stunner about the long running, televised feud between Joan Lunden and Esther Rolle. Sandy Duncan directs.

A History of Non-Confrontational Behavior
The moving tale of an American Everyman trying desperately to hide his boring, whitebread past that his new wife, a Playboy bunny used to dating Mafia hitmen, is about to discover.

Match Game
Woody Allen directs Gene Rayburn in the long-awaited film version of the hit television game show. Scarlett Johansson is a scene-stealer as Loretta Swit. Heath Ledger is nearly as rivetting as Charles Nelson Reilly.

The Perpetual Plumber
A gripping thriller about world affairs according to US Weekly, as seen from different comodes from all over the world. Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston, Paris Hilton, Jude Law, and Nicole Ritchie head the all-star cast.

Gwyneth Paltrow tries to act smart. Jake Gyllenhaal tries harder. Anthony Hopkins tries to stay awake. Someone tries to direct them.

The Skorts on the Whale
The Fashion World, Brooklyn, circa 1985. Troubled twins Sammy and Josie, attempting to save their divorcing parents' marriage, decide to take matters into their own hands, designing a line of hybrid womenswear that will hopefully get their parents back together. Lindsay Lohan stars as both svelte Sammy and glandularly-challenged Josie.

In an astonishing performance, Philip Seymour Hoffman tears up the screen as Jacqueline Susann, creator of "New-Bad" Fiction, as she writes her groundbreaking "non-fiction novel" The Valley of the Dolls. Catherine Keener co-stars as friend, rival, and research assistant Jackie Collins. Norman Mailer directs.

In a remarkable physical "transformation", Felicity Huffman stars as a Honda that is really a TransAm on the inside. Before s/he/it can go through his/her/its automotive reassignment surgery, s/he/it must reconcile with his/her/its long lost son, a Pinto who yearns to become a Mustang. A smash hit at the Detroit film festival in 2004.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I Will Never Forget It, Y'Know...

Today, my iTunes on random shuffle hit a track from an old Bette Midler comedy album.

Hey, it happens.

She was doing her inspired version of Sophie Tucker's down-and-dirty gutter talk. This joke had me laughing for a good ten minutes...which I needed today desperately:

"I will never forget it, y'know...I was in bed last night with my boyfriend Ernie and...I farted. Yes, the cheese was cut. Ernie made a face, looked at me and asked: 'Soph, did you fart?'

"I looked back at him and said: 'For Christ's Sake, Ernie. Of course I farted. You think I always smell like this?'"

Once upon a time, I was working with a design intern who accused me of having an "intensely scatalogical" sense of humor.

"What do you mean, exactly?" I asked her.

"You laugh at anything shit-related."

Even before the first half of the hypenate "shit-related" exited her too young, Sarah Lawrence educated not-nearly-potty-enough-mouth, I was giggling.

"See. You're like a toddler."

"Look, poo is funny at any age. And you know it."

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Word on the Teet(s) (Or, When Starlets Attack Scarletts)

Just another reason to love, love, love Gawker.com:

Lindsay Lohan's Sharpie Near-Haiku

Hey, for a confirmed cokehead, that's some fucking brilliant writing. I'm amazed she had the attention span to even write that much.

Here's a multiple choice quiz on the whys of LL Cool Blow's "Meeting-in-the-Ladies-Room" blowout:

A. Stealing Jared Leto.
B. Those real breasts.
C. Actually acting in films.
D. Acutally acting in films that aren't solely marketed at 8 year olds.
E. Knowing who Woody Allen, Sofia Coppola, the Coen Brothers, and Terry Zwigoff are without having to consult her publicist.
F. Having starred in films by Woody Allen, Sofia Coppola, the Coen Brothers, and Terry Zwigoff.
F. All of the above.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Brokeass Mountain Playset™ *

Coming soon to an adult toystore near you...

The Brokeass Mountain Playset™

Fun for the whole family! Hours of pleasure guaranteed! (Consenting Adult Males Only)

Includes the following:

–Can of Baked Beans
–Postcards From the Edge
–Pup Tent for Two
–Tackle Box
–Pack o' Candy Smokes
–Motel Room Keys
–Inflatable Wife Doll (Please choose either Alma™ or Lureen™ model when ordering)

*batteries, regret, and eventual emotional devastation not included. Lureen™ Version requires additional batteries for hairsetting. See instruction booklet for further details.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Hot Diggity Dignity

"Now, I just hope that the Senate begins and does the hearing process with dignity. Sam Alito is a dignified sort of guy and dignity is important to him, as dignity is important to me. Dignity is a dignified thing that is filled with dignity. So I ask the Senate to do this real dignified like so we can get through this with dignity, because that's what's important to me, as it is important to Sam. If we could all just have some more dignity, we could have a dignified approval process that would have the things that are important to America, like dignity. You see, if we had more dignitary types of people in the Senate, we would have more dignity. Dignity is something that is important to me and Sam, but they aren't, well...it is just that simple."

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Street Life (Or, Omigod Gretchen. This Isn't Low-Carb.)

I'm not one to be exactly thrilled about my chosen neighborhood of late (read: the gay-ass ghetto).


As much as I bitch about the cha-cha, bang-bang, cosmo-in-one-hand, cock-ring in the other tourist trap that is my designated 'hood, it is still a notch above, oh say, Darien, Connecticut.

This morning, shopping in my semi-recently glammed up corner deli, I was overwhelmed by the conversation of two young, ponytailed blonde women as such:

BLONDE A: Should we get, like, chips or something?

BLONDE B: Omigod. We totally should.

BLONDE A: Awesome. I love chips.

BLONDE B: Omigod, me too.

BLONDE A: They are, like, so good.

BLONDE B: Omigod, I know.

BLONDE A: Like, we should get, like, low-carb chips?

BLONDE B: That would be awesome.

BLONDE A: This deli is like, gross, or something.

BLONDE B: Wait, those aren't low-carb.


BLONDE B: Those are low-fat.

BLONDE A: You know, let's not get chips. I think that Steven already has, like, a lot of stuff in his new place to eat.

BLONDE B: This neighborhood is so close to everything.

BLONDE A: It's still so gay though.

I left the deli before I had the chance to fall asleep standing up. I'm starting to miss the days before the deli went glam and the only talk you would ever hear in the place was:

"Do you sell Fleet enemas?"

Saturday, January 07, 2006

No Good Reason (Or, Random Abstract Eye Candy)

30 Hour Hangovers With Rachael Ray

I'm not sure if it's the "low-carb lifestyle" Rachael Ray is obsessing about currently on her Food Network show, 30-Minute Meals, or if it's the obvious hangover she's trying to work through, but homegirl is looking rough this morning.

Her pep is on hiatus, chilling in the Bahamas with a Rum Runner (or six) and a Danielle Steel novel.

What's left in its stead is a raspy, Kathleen Turnery voice, some first-class puffy undereye areas and banged-up hair that has seen better blow-outs.

During commercial breaks, is she off-camera, gunning shots of whatever-hair-of-the-dog she is clearly in need of?

I'm just sad I tuned in too late and missed Paula Deen and her salty, fatty, bigass Southern goodness.

A Blind Item: Prisoner of Second Avenue (Or, When Semi-Celebrities Attack With Bad Jokes)

Just after Christmas, I was walking up Second Avenue in the East Village with my friend Robert. Just in front of the Village East Cinemas, we were audially overtaken by a group of four entirely too-loud, clearly actorly types walking behind us.

There were two men and two women.

This exchange followed:

MAN 1: You don't want to see a movie?

MAN 2: Nothing's playing.

MAN 1: What about "Casanova"?

MAN 2: Really?

MAN1: Yeah, I want to see Heath Ledger kiss a girl onscreen for a change.

MAN 2: (laughing loudy, self-consciously, fakely) Oh, man! That's good! I bet he does too.

(More obnoxiously fake, undeserving laughter)

At this point, the group starts to pass us on the street. MAN 2, it turns out, happens to be a well-known semi-famous actor. I won't name names, but let's just say this:

MAN 2 also starred in a movie that came out this past Holiday Season.

And, despite his glee on the street and his nearly homophobic delight in Heath Ledger's kissing aptitude, he won't getting an Oscar for his performance in the junkshow version of a dated musical that's way gayer than kissing cowboys in love movie he semi-starred in this Christmas.

So much for "La Vie Boheme".

Maybe MAN 2 would feel more comfortable in Connecticut.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Best of 2006 (Or, Come Back to the Five and Dime, Miss Cleo, Miss Cleo)

I'm trying to resist posting a "Best Of..." list of films from the past year. I got the latest issue of Film Comment yesterday, in which they break down the past year in movies, which I tore through like an opiate junkie in a field of blooming poppies.

In lieu of my own (forthcoming) list, here's a link to the trailer for what I predict will be the hot jam of the end of next year: Sofia Coppola's Marie-Antoinette. I saw the trailer for it in the theater recently, and the use of New Order's "Age of Consent" from their brilliant album Power, Corruption, and Lies had me, well, swooning like the late-80s dork that I, well, still am.

If the preview for Marie-Antoinette is any indication, it also seems Ms. Coppola has torn a few pages from Derek Jarman's playbook. One can only hope his mashed-up, ecstatic use of anachronism infiltrates her work as it (unknowingly anyway) did David O. Russell's in Three Kings.

Little known or admitted to fact: ever since Miss Cleo was forced off of the air due to, um, fraud, I have taken over her predictive gifts from the spirit world. Like Miss Cleo, I specialize in predicting things already known to be almost true or predicting things that I will make come true in due time.

For instance, this year, for you dear reader, I predict three things:




Now, tell me those three things won't be in your life this coming year.

I dare you.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Behind The Wheel

I used to be more of an American.

I used to live out of and breathe through my automobile, as any good American should and, by and large, is required to do by nature.

Sometimes, I really miss driving. Living in New York, where walking is the only semi-satisfying mode of personal transit for me, I only get to drive a few times a year. I miss the contemplation that comes with hugging long stretches of road, listening to music.

A fond car memory from 1989:

Once, driving in my tiny orange Toyota Tercel, my friend Jessica and I spotted a woman who was wearing headphones while driving. She was clearly without a radio in her car and was jamming along mildly to herself to a walkman via those clunky, foamy Sony earpieces that were popular at the time.

We pulled up next to her at a traffic light. Both of our cars were stopped by a red light.

Jess and I rolled down the car windows.

We started yelling, as if our young lives depended on it:


Whatever the young woman was rocking out to (Kate Bush? INXS? Vixen? 2 Live Crew?), it was far louder and more involved than our flagrant high school drama club dramatics. She sat, still bobbing her head back and forth to the only thing she could hear - whatever moodily fresh Depeche Mode or Nitzer Ebb or Skinny Puppy or Wilson Phillips beats were banging against her eardrums.

Laughing hystercially now, Jessica and I continued:


And she just sat there, still bobbing her permy, bobbed hairdo back and forth to the music.

Luckily for her, before either of us jumped out to tap on her shoulder through her own open cardoor window, the light turned green.

She sped off and we followed. I tried to keep pace with her, like I was the stunt driver in some less-than-glamorous, no-budget action movie about 17-year old drama fags, so we could continue yelling and laughing.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

So This is the New World

More from Argentina...

As overheard by a Brit, speaking on his cellphone on a crowded street:

"Yes, it's really amazing here. I really can't wait to go out tonight and enjoy some bold New World wines."

I paused for a moment, looked around to make sure I was still standing in the 21st century, that I didn't just accidentally pass through some space-time-continuum fart on this crowded street in Buenos Aires. As reality and the current century reclaimed its grasp (I heard Madonna's "Hung Up" pounding out of a passing Mercedes), I gathered that no, indeed, the year was not 1750.

"New World? Who the fuck talks like that any more?" I thought to myself.

Oh, yeah, the British.

Luckily this happened after the café incident (see below), so I could take momentary pleasure in being a gleefully open-minded American Barbarian, as loud and as uncouth as that might make me.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

In Praise of the Bad Film

There is a comfort in being the likable loner.

There is a comfort in knowing your chosen profession is either cop or undercover cop or retired cop or cop turned private sector mercenary.

There is a comfort in the set-up, getting a handle on your faults and traits, on waiting for the action to come. Not to slow things down, this brief exposition, lasting approximately 30 minutes, is sprinkled with perhaps a fight or explosion or knock-out or two and the scent of a too-young woman, scheduled to appear later and more fully in the shape of a doctor or a district attorney or a school teacher or any other mildly suggestive generic profession suitable for a woman who won't get in your way or make too many demands on you that don't lead to sex.

Hopefully too, this too-young woman will either have a secret or a backlog of specific technical knowledge you might need soon.

There is a comfort in knowing that what lurks around every corner will be taken care of in due course with a kick or a punch or a jump or a swerve of your steering wheel.

There is a comfort in knowing that any random, seemingly unrelated fact given up by a stranger or a cop or an enemy or an old girlfriend or a truckstop waitress you pounded once will be used in your favor at a later time - perhaps at the most, 45 minutes from the first utterance of the facts - when you will be asked to recall this information to save the world or the country or the family or the new woman (not the truckstop waitress) or the dog.

There is a comfort in knowing that you will not die, that you will make love to the (new) woman approximately half way into it. There is a comfort in knowing that her clothes will drop to the floor to reveal a nice set of breasts, either wet or heaving or both, and that her genitals will remain quietly unseen.

There is a comfort in knowing exactly that success lies ahead of you, despite the fact that all signs point to failure in a churning set of circumstances that sounds like everything and nothing at the same time.

There is a comfort in not working too hard at it - at knowing this is all going to end soon enough (87 to 110 minutes from the time it started) and that the woman's breasts are yours to keep until next time (given that there is a next time), where they may or may not be replaced with a younger version's breasts and your challenge will be similar but not quite exactly what you just went through.

Next time (given that there is a next time), you might be in outerspace or Libya or even France.

Next time (given that there is a next time), you might have a different hair cut or car.

Next time (given that there is a next time), you might get paid more money, depending on how the first time was for you and all of us watching, waiting for something new and different to happen to you, our generic new best friend at a distance for 87 to 110 minutes.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Mr. Business Traveler, The Barbarian

When I was in Buenos Aires in October, I made the fated, fateful mistake of ordering coffee with my lunch.

Not before. Not After.


I was at a small, hipsterish cafe armed with nothing but hunger and a very rudimentary set of Spanish phrases, most of which did nothing but confound the fact that I was The Ugly American Abroad. My "Hola"s and "Gracias"es and "Pardone"s were starting to sound fairly good to my mimicy ear, but anything outside of a cab ride or an interaction at the hotel concierge's desk was a nightmare of stutters, uhs, and well, baldfaced ignorance.

So, using my baby bourgeious Spanish, I mustered the strength of will to order some sort of Chicken dish and cafe con leche.

The waitress stood there, a bit dumbfounded at my order. She then flung herself headlong into a lovely sounding monologue that I did not understand at all.

Not one single word or phrase popped out at me as a handle to pull myself out of my ignorance. The lilting flow of her Argentine Spanish flittered past my ears as I sat and waited for my face to burn red, knowing that her performance would eventually stop and I would have to provide her an answer.

In Spanish.

At that point, I was so hungry and tired and weary of feeling like a wayward child, lost in a shopping mall full of horny pedophiles, I couldn't even muster or remember how to say I don't speak Spanish en Español.

Luckily, an English speaking Argentine leaned in to me to say:

"She wants to know if you want your coffee after your meal or with your meal."

Before I had time to realize this question carried a higher social meaning on its fluttery back, I said, half grunting:


The Argentine then looked up to the waitress and relayed my answer. The waitress looked at me in horror as if I had just clubbed a baby seal in front of her and muttered something - a joke evidently - back to the customer who had been helping me.

They both laughed and laughed as the waitress departed to take care of other duties. The Argentine customer went back to reading his paper as if nothing happened - as if I didn't realize they had just made a joke at my expense - in a language I couldn't understand.

I finally said:

"Excuse me, did I do something wrong?"

I wanted to add a coda to the question: "like bitchslap a baby?"

The Argentine suddenly stopped chuckling, swiftly leaned into me and whispered with the utmost urgency:

"You don't drink coffee with lunch. It's just not done."

He bruskly resumed reading his newspaper, flicking his wrists to make the flimsy newsprint snap with added shock.

Apparently, I did bitchslap a baby seal.

Somehow the reprimand he relayed to me didn't seem all that funny - not funny enough to have them laugh the way they did.

"That's all?"

Laughing from behind his newspaper, he replied:

"Then she called you a Barbarian."

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Day After Yesterday (Or, The Rules of Subtraction)

So, this is the New Year. And I don't feel any different.

I remember at this time last year, listening to Death Cab for Cutie's song "The New Year" and wholly identifying with it. I was having one of those "this-song-was-written- exactly-for-this-moment" moments, walking down my street strapped into my iPod. Because, one year ago, the year ahead of me looked and felt exactly like the year behind me. There was no approaching change in my work life or my social life. There was nothing to feel different about, really.

This year though, it is the New Year, and I do feel different. I could blather on about the positive attributes of getting older and wiser, but despite all of the things that make this New Year different, there is one single thing that rings truest and loudest for me:

The adult life of the modern, metropolitan single gay male is a lot like the life of the modern, suburban American adolescent girl.

There is backstabbing.

There is gossip.

There are stolen boyfriends.

There are rumor-induced break-ups.

There are friends that aren't really your friends.

There are friends that aren't really your friends who act like your friends and will lie to your face about being your friend until they are blue in the face and will turn around and make up stories about you behind your back because they like the attention that comes with being in the know.

Thing is, when I was in junior high, when I should have learned all of this shit, I was a dork beyond dorkdom - a kid who actually liked his teachers and who played Dungeons & Dragons and turned in term papers weeks ahead of time not to show off, but because he was really into the work.

I was a kid who took to diagramming sentences like other kids took to pot and wine coolers.

I was a kid who entered scholastic magazine logic contents and won, only to be confused by the fact that other kids resented me for it.

I was a kid who never showed my report card to anyone except other dyed-in-the-wool dorks because I my grades were too high. The first time I showed my report card to anyone outside of my D&D circle, I was threatened with bodily violence by an acne-prone kid named Robert Lynch. I timidly showed him my straight-As in all classes computer print-out in our homeroom class and he smirked at me, wadded up my report card and said:

"You're such a fucking faggot. I'm going to beat the shit out of you after school today."

That day, I waited in the Band Room for an hour before calling my parents to come pick me up. I knew the Lynch kid walked to school, so I was hoping that the combination of time and a parental pick-up would leave him either too bored or too scared to stick around to kick my ass.

The thing is, the friends I had were such dorks, there was never any room for game playing or gossip or animosity whatsoever. We clung to each other because we were all we had. We knew better than to step outside of our social circle, as defined by the larger caste system of seventh grade.

So, now, as an adult, I am utterly confused by the social games I missed out on back then. I guess in a larger sense, gay men in general miss out on these games during developmental, adolescent years and feel some need to figure them out or embody them when they're adults while our heterosexual counterparts (as boring as that world may seem) are busying themselves having families and real estate and cars.

Last year, I didn't see that I was caught up in something for which I am not built.

So, indeed, this is the New Year.

And I feel entirely different.

Big ups to Jessica for writing this.
Which inspired this entry.