Tuesday, December 30, 2003
The songs contain intelligent lyrics, sung with his smoky, Leonard Cohen-styled voice, backed with phenomenal music and orchestrations. The videos are masterpieces of style and special effects. Did I mention that he's incredibly sexy?
Also, an update to my reading list:
- The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkein
- At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill
- The Destiny of Me by Larry Kramer
- Marks of Identity by Juan Goytisolo
Saturday, December 27, 2003
Traffic was okay on the 5 North until we hit the 710. Everthing bogged down at that point, and Clark struggled to make it into the far left lane to catch the 101. I didn't expect traffic on December 26th, foolishly under the impression that many people had the day after Christmas off and were elsewhere in California. As we sat in the stop-and-go traffic, we caught sight of the Music Center and quickly changed our plans to check out the new Walt Disney Concert Hall. The new building, designed by Frank Ghery who also designed the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain, is probably one of the most impressive buildings I've ever seen in downtown Los Angeles. Shining, steel-plated walls that ripple as if they were sails caught in the wind. 6 stories tall with a public garden on the 3rd level. Rich wood walls on the inside with indoor lighting provided by the many skylights. It's almost overwhelming at first sight, this bright, shining edifice in the middle of skyscrapers and apartment complexes.
For $10 each, we took the self-guided audio tour that gave us almost free-reign of the inside of the concert hall. Clark and I walked around the hall and its grounds for about two hours, carrying what looked like long billy clubs up to our ears. They were actually the listening devices for the audio tour, containing the entire presentation narrated by John Lithgow. At specific areas of the hall, we punched in a 3-digit number and heard specifics about such things as the design of the recital and concert halls, the Blue Rose Fountain in the garden (which is made of shattered Delftware), why so many skylight were installed, the buliding design, etc. etc. Incredibly fascinating. And the views from the garden! Thanks to the clear sky, we were able to see the Hollywood sign and Dodger Stadium. Turn around, and it's the Los Angeles Public Library with its mosaic pyramidal top and the Museum of Contemporary Art that featured an exhibit (surprise, surprise) on Frank Ghery. By the time we left, it was 4 PM, and we still wanted to see a bit of Boys' Town.
So we drove up the 101 to Santa Monica Blvd. and cruised the streets until we found parking near the main area of West Hollywood. We bought a few books from A Different Light and dined at the Tango Grill, at which Clark had never eaten. It's one of my favorite restaurants up there. I talked Clark into the Milanesa Napolitana, which is a breaded flat steak, topped with sliced tomato and melted provolone cheese. Mouthwatering!! I think he enjoyed the meal, but was more interested in admiring the two dark-haired hunks sitting at the table by the door....
By 7 PM, we headed for the theater which was just up the street from the Hollywood Memorial Cememtery and a few of the major studios. The entrance to the Hudson Avenue Theater was located on Hudson Ave. a poorly-lit side street off Santa Monica Blvd. A few people were milling about the box office, trying to stay warm in the cold wind that was blowing. I picked up the tickets and browsed the program, trying to determine who was cuter: one of the cast members or the blonde in line with the chiseled features and chest. Wow! And then, lo and behold, I spied an ad in the program from Neil, an ex-boyfriend who has become a masseuse. I knew about the masseuse thing; I'd found an ad for him in the Frontiers classifieds. He must be faring okay to have an ad in a play program. Good for him.
The theater itself, once they let us in, was very tiny. Very, very tiny. Clark counted about 125 seats. The stage was almost in your face. If an actor tripped, he or she would land in your lap! That's local theater, though. Pageant turned out to be so hysterical that we didn't really care about the size of theater. The musical is about a beauty contest to find the next Miss Glamouresse. The six contestants were Miss Great Plains, Miss Texas, Miss Deep South, Miss Bible Belt, Miss Industrial Northeast, and Miss West Coast, and each was played by a man in drag. They strutted through the evening gown competition, swimsuit, talent, spokesmodel and also had to help someone calling in on the Beauty Crisis Hotline. Then, 5 people from the audience voted for the winner. (So every performance has a different ending.)
We laughed so hard! Miss West Coast was getting high off the perfume she was supposed to be selling in the Spokesmodel event. And Miss Industrial Northwest rolled onto stage in roller skates and sporting an accordian for her Talent event. (It was a Fantasia on the C Major music scale.) Miss Texas became vindictive and threatened the judges when she didn't win! I'm still laughing just remembering it!!!!
Well, I should be going. Sean's plane arrives fairly soon so I need to clean the hosue a little bit.
Oh, and I did finish two more novels from the 100 Best Lesbian/Gay Novels list: Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov and Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown. The former was so-so; the latter, fantastic and definitely worth reading.
Updated reading list:
The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkein
The Chronicle of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds by Jocelin of Brakelond
The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer
The Destiny of Me by Larry Kramer
Thursday, December 25, 2003
I like his aunt and uncle. I really do. But, I feel so out of place over there, especially when I visit by myself. No, change that...when I'm forced to visit by myself. Sean volunteers me, or, as with tonight, his Aunt D. heard I was alone tonight and sent The Kid over to fetch me. No protestations accepted!!! I just wanted to stretch on the couch with a book, some soft holiday music wafting through the air, and to pass out. After all, I'd only been awake since 5:15 this morning, to drive Sean to the airport. With the terror alert level raised (to what fuschia? puce? ecru? I can't keep the colors straight anymore), security was beefed up. They recommended arriving at least 2-1/2 hours before your scheduled flight. Sean's flight was at 9:30 AM so we needed to be at John Wayne by at least 7. We made it there by 6 even after stopping for security. I was back in bed, falling in and out of sleep and bizarre dreams by 6:30.
I made myself get out of bed around 9, watched some TV, ate leftovers from my parents' dinner last night, surfed the internet, and decided to see Peter Pan. Joel called to wish us a Merry Christmas -- hi Joel! We chatted for a while and talked of our plans for this long, four-day weekend. Then, I showered and drove to the AMC at Downtown Disney.
Great movie! I can see why it had a line just to get into the individual theater. I might have rated it a PG-13, instead of just PG, but everyone in the audience -- kids and adults -- absolutely enjoyed the film. It's full of pirates, mermaids, faeries and adventure to keep the kids entertained, but also has terrific acting, a fine story and wonderful visual effects. I want to read the book now!
When I left the theater, the wind was blowing strong enough to make the rain fall horizontally. I walked to the parking structure, assisted a mini-van that was about to back into two orange cones and a "No Exit" sign, and made it safely to my car. I stuck to the left lanes on the drive back. Due to all the rain, the gutters overflowed in many spots over the sidewalks, into the far right lane and across some intersections. A few cars attempted unsuccessfully to make it through the pools. Slow and steady wins the race, as the saying goes, and within an hour and a half, I was home. Exhausted and very, very sleepy.
Two messages on the machine. The first was from Sean saying that he arrived safely, Mom says hi, and D. knows that I'm home alone and that I'm to come over immediatley for dinner. The second was from D. stating that she knew I was home, that I was to come over immediately, and that The Kid was on his way over to get me. As I was erasing the messages, Sean called again. I spoke with his Mom, thanked her for my gift, teamed up with her against Sean, and generally had a nice call. Then, The Kid stormed into he house ready to take me to D.'s. (Note to self: lock door when at home.) I talked him into leaving without me, promising that I would be over soon. I just returned home and wanted to rest a minute or two.
I made it over there about 30 minutes later, gorged myself on all that wonderful food, and then learned that Sean had volunteered me to find an elegant gay restaurant in Long Beach for L.'s friends who were visiting from Ohio, a gay couple celebrating their 2nd Anniversary. I asked if she weren't sure that Sean said Laguna Beach. No, Long Beach. You're sure? Yep. Oh...well...I don't know any of the elegant restaurants in Long Beach that cater to homosexuals. (Sean and I rarely eat at any restaurants, let alone fancy, gay ones.) He said you knew all the gay restaurants there.
Now, I'm stuck trying to find a restaurant in a town I'm not familiar with for a couple I don't know. Thanks, Sean. Oh, and we're all going out to dinner on Sunday. Thanks, again, Sean.
Is it safe to scream yet?
Anyway, in the immortal words of whoever wrote "The Night Before Christmas:"
"Merry Christmas to all
and to all a good night!"
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Monday, December 22, 2003
Growing up in earthquake country, you grow accustomed to them. In elementary school, the earthquake preparedness drills are ground into your brain. Stay away from glass windows and brick buildings. Doorjambs are some of the strongest and safest places during an earthquake. Duck and cover. Turn off the gas. You feel safe and secure, knowing that you can make it through an earthquake.
Then, a big one strikes, such as the Northridge Quake of 1994. That measured 6.7 on the Richter scale. I was living in Laguna Niguel at the time and remember that the quake literally rolled me out of bed. I crawled half-asleep to the door, checked to see that my parents were okay, and went back to sleep in the doorway. The news reports in the morning showed all the devastation to businesses and apartment buildings in the Northridge area. Rubble everywhere. Families standing in the streets, crying. A broken fire hydrant gushing like a geyser. It resembled a war zone.
People wonder why anyone would want to live in such a dangerous area as Southern California! (I wonder that same about those who live in Tornado zones or in areas that are continually pounded by tropical sotrms and hurricanes.) These folks are usually fro the MidWest of back East. Perhaps I should point out some of the largest quakes in US history which happened 1811-1812 in the New Madrid seismic zone of the Mississippi River Valley.
No matter where you go, there they are.
Sunday, December 21, 2003
I contacted the Customer Service group at blogger.com, and they fixed it, but the contact also thought it was strange. He couldn't find anything wrong with what I had input either. Huh...
Thanks to the team at blogger.com for fixing my blog. I think I'm going to find a class in html so that I can learn better what to and what not to do with this page!!
Thursday, December 18, 2003
Shane's car was the last allowed into the parking structure. I called Clark to tell him about the situation, but luckily, he was already on his way down the escalator. Soon, the two of them joined us in the Hearthstone Lounge for a few drinks before dinner.
We decided to eat in Disneyland at Red Rocket's Pizza Port so I suggested riding the Monorail instead of trekking through Downtown Disney to the main gate. The station in the park exits very close to the restaurant. It was a good thing we opted for the Monorail because as we passed over the main entrance, the lines to get into Disneyland trailed halfway to the entrance to California Adventure. The wait must have been about 20 minutes just to get in! We found out later that many of the local radio stations had given away four-packs of tickets to the park for that particular day.
Once we made it to the restaurant, weaving through the sea of families and strollers, we sat, talked and ate for a good hour. Imagine five adults sitting around a small round table and crammed into a corner, talking loud, telling jokes, commenting on Disney's overwhemling abundance of unused space. We were having a fantastic time. Sean was even in a good mood! (The awkward silence we sat through at the Hearthstone was forgotten for a while.)
At 8:30, we headed for Main Street to get the best view of the fireworks. Others had had the same idea and were milling about in the middle of the street when we arrived. So we stopped and joined them, standing on the trolley rails where Main Street meets the hub of the park. More and more people issued forth from the many lands, some simply passing by on the way to the exit. But, most stopped to secure a spot for the fireworks. Around 9 PM, a Disney employee approached our group and told us that we needed to move to the sidewalks so that the street could be used as a walkway. Shane, with his understated panache for bluntness, asked if we would be guaranteed the exact same spot when it came time for the fireworks because the minute we leave, others would come to take our place. He refused to move unless she guaranteed us the exact same spot. She just smiled, nodded and walked away. A few moments later, another park employee -- Janice -- ordered a family to the sidewalk and was upset that they weren't moving fast enough. Darn that wheelchair for getting caught in the trolley tracks! And, Janice didn't even attempt to help! She finally gave up badgering the family and moved on to the rest of us, wanting to know who had given us permission to stand right there. She was overriding that and demanded that we move to the sidewalk. Which, in the meantime, had been roped of by other Disney employees to create a walkway so that park guests could either walk by on one side or stand to view the fireworks on the other. Shane -- once again a paragon of bluntness -- firmly said "No." Then, the rest of us -- including the families of strangers around us -- said "No" as a group.
I think that flustered her because she stormed off, never to be seen by us again.
So that's where we viewed the fireworks and the "snow". (It's actually soap suds, but don't tell anyone.) I stood on tiptoe a few times to stare at the sea of people cramming Main Street. A few times, I even spied Wes from the Bravo TV show Boy Meets Boy. James -- the gay Bachelor, if you will -- selected Wes as the winner. Surprisingly, Wes wasn't there with James. Rob and Shane have seen him in the park many times since Gay Day in October without James. Hmm....
And that's the end of the tale. We filed out of the park, said our goodbyes to Rob, Shane and Clark at the tram stop, promising to visit the new house in North Lake Elsinore soon. Sean and I walked through Downtown Disney and quietly on to the parking structure.
We saw Return of the King last night, and it is an incredible movie! Even for 3h 20m!! Fantastic special effects, especially the ghost army. Sean Astin gives a remarkable performance as Samwise Gamgee -- all the actors are wonderful, but Sean just stood out in this film. Much like Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Fellowship of the Ring. Perhaps, the film takes a bit too much time to wrap things up at the end, but it does tie the three movies together perfectly. Go see it!!
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Let's see.... Where did I leave off? Oh, yes....
Sean sat in a comfy chair in the lobby of the Grand Californian hotel while I was up and about, examining the Christmas tree, the display cases with antique Rosewood pottery and books and listening to the piano player. I asked him if he wanted to enter California Adventure.
He said no, that he wanted to just sit where he was because he was tired. But, if I wanted to go into the park to go ahead. (I thought the whole point of arriving two to three hours early was to do something other than sit and wait. Downtown Disney's full of shops plus there are two theme parks full of attractions and other things to do while we wait.) I told him that I wanted to go with him, but his stomach was bothering. He would meet me in the bar when I returned.
So I removed his backpack that I had been schlepping around since the parking structure and headed for the hotel's park entrance. I was upset -- not fuming mad, but a bit disgruntled. We both spent $200 each for the Annual Passes, which I knew to be a big burden for Sean. However, after driving for over half an hour, he preferred to sit in a bar for a few hours rather than to use the pass. What was the point? Why did he even buy it? Wasted money, in my opinion. Those thoughts kept running through my mind as I passed through the turnstile and wandered around the park.
I rode the Golden Zephyr, which is a swinging rocketship ride similar to ones that could be found on boardwalks like Luna Park and Coney Island. (the rockets are acutally silver, too, not gold.) I completed a circuit of the Paradise Pier, then crossed the rope bridges in Camp Wilderness. Admittedly, I was bored. I visit the Disneyland Resort by myself quite a bit, usually while Sean's at work. But this time, knowing that he was sitting in the bar -- I just didn't want to stay so long by myself, this time. I headed back to the hotel.
Sean sat in a leather chair, sipping a club soda. While I was in the park, he purchased a "Welcome" tile from the gift shop as a housewarming for Rob and Shane. He showed it to me, we talked about what I did in the park, then we waited for the others to arrive, not saying much of anything else to each other. He pulled a magazine from the backpack and began to read while I sipped a coke and munched on cheese crackers. I've noticed that we have many more of these silences lately. Long, drawn out spaces where he's watching a DVD either downstairs on in the bedroom, and I'm reading a book, either downstairs or in the bedroom. Are we so comfortable with each other that we don't need to be in the same room? Or, are we getting tired of one another?
About an hour later, Rob arrived with stories about his surprise birthday trip to the Napa Valley for his birthday. Shane called from the parking structure to tell us that his was the last car allowed into the structure. It was full -- the 10,000-car parking structure was full!! Clark was still on the road, for all I knew, so I called him to tell him the news. Luckily, he was already on the escalator heading for the tram.
more to come....
Monday, December 15, 2003
Saturday turned out to be quite an interesting day. I woke early, as I always seem to do. (My internal clock must have a glitch somewhere to constantly wake me at 7:45 every Saturday morning without fail.) I pushed open the bathroom door only to have it slam back into my face. No, Sean wasn't in there; just his dirty clothing, piled so thick behind the bathroom door that it wouldn't stay open without force. His cothes are all over the house: hanging on the railing of the upstairs landing, strewn about his books in the office, sprkinled here and there by the downstairs sofa and in that bathroom, draped over the kitchen chairs. I spend most evenings shuttling them to the garage for eventual washing.
I managed to hold open a person-sized gap into the upstairs bathroom and squeezed my way through. Seeing his piles of clothes reminded me that I needed some clean clothing, too. So, afterward, I hefted my clothesbag downstairs, began my laundry, and then tidied the living room a bit.
With Sean still asleep, I showered, dressed and went to the library. Occasionally, we've been able to find some great books from their little store to sell on eBay. No such luck this day, but I did check out Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov. It's listed on the 100 Best Lesbian/Gay Novels so I thought, why not?
By the time I returned, Sean was up and his pile of clothes no longer in the bathroom. No, they lay heaped in the little hallway upstairs. He told me that he would start a few loads before we left for Disneyland. (They're still piled in the hallway!) I went downstairs to read while Sean worked a little on the computer and showered.
We left for Disneyland at 3:00 PM. The whole drive Sean complained about people driving Hondas, using cell phones, not using turn signals, not paying attention to the raod, etc. Of course, he drives like a maniac, and I think my hand left a permanent impresson on the leather grip above the passenger door. We did arrive safely, though, and parked on the top level of the parking structure.
The tram dropped us off near the main gates to Disneyland, and I asked Sean what he would like to do, since we weren't meeting anyone else until 6:00 PM. He told me that he just wanted to sit down somewhere. We backtracked through Downtown Disney and into the Grand Californian Hotel. He headed straight for the gift shop, looking for some special ornaments. Last year, they sold miniature chairs in the Green & Green and William Morris style, which now hang on our Christmas tree, and he was hoping for more like them. Unfortunately, they were not being sold this year. Sean told me to look around the gift shop while he went to find a seat in the lobby.
I examined everything at least twice and then ventured into the lobby to find him. He sat in a comfy chair, but as there weren't any others available, I just stood there, looking at the gigantic Christmas tree covered with lanterns, wooden chairs, and rust-colored ribbon. I asked Sean if he wanted to go into California Adventure since we still had two hours before Rob and Shane would arrive.
to be continued....
Sunday, December 14, 2003
This should be a big boost to President Bush's approval rating, especially with the Presidential race well under way.
Now, if the troops could just find Osama bin Laden....
Saturday, December 13, 2003
Finally! The school district is apologizing AND wiping the incident from the boy's records. However, the school tried to convince all involved that the "behavior class" to which he was sent immediately following the use of the word "gay" was due to an undocumented case of inattention in class. What a crock!!
Friday, December 12, 2003
The first ranks in the 100 Best Lesbian/Gay Novels list as #76: An Arrow's Flight by Mark Merlis. It's 10 years after the start of the Trojan War, and neither side sees a clear end to the bloody debacle. Until an Oracle prophesizes that Neoptolemus, son of Achilles, will hasten the end of the war. Good news for Odysseus, who longs to return home to his wife and son. The only problem is that no one knows where to find Neoptolemus.
Unbeknowst to everyone, Neoptolemus, who goes by the name of Pyrrhus because of his red hair, escaped from his boring life on the isle of Scyros only to become a go-go dancer and hustler in the gay ghettos of the big city. One of Odysseus' crew finds him and informs him of the prophecy, giving him the opportunity to change his life. He accepts and off they go to Troy. But, an unexpected change in plans takes them to the island of Lemnos, and Pyrrhus' must make some big decisions about who he is and what he really wants in life.
A good story, once you get past the fact that the "ancient" Greeks use computers, drive cars, charge gifts (and hustlers) to credit cards, etc. A little unnerving at first, but the story itself more than makes up for it.
The second book Nashville 1864 centers on a young boy's struggle to find his father in the mess of the Battle of Nashville during the American Civil War. Anyone interested in the Civil War must read this book!!
My updated reading list:
Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown
Sixpence House by Phil Collins (not the singer/songwriter)
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Thank goodness! But this begs the question concerning the Ten Commandments monument that stands in the same park in which Phelps desired to post his monument to intolerance. If Phelps' monument isn't allowed, then should the other monument be taken down in order to show fairness? Touchy situation....
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
- IF YOU COULD EAT LUNCH WITH ONE FAMOUS PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? Ray Bradbury
- GOLD OR SILVER? silver
- FAVORITE TV SHOW(S)? Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, West Wing, The Daily Show, CSI, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Monster House, Ground Force
- WHO WOULD YOU HATE TO BE STUCK IN A ROOM WITH? Carrot Top
- WHAT INSPIRES YOU? a good book
- BEACH, CITY, OR COUNTRY? beach in Northern California
- WHAT KIND OF CAR DO YOU DRIVE? Honda Civic
- FAVORITE SANDWICH? French Dip or the 5-Way Grilled Cheese from Mimi's Café
- WHAT CHARACTERISTIC DO YOU DESPISE? selfishness
- WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FLOWER? orchid
- RED OR WHITE WINE? white
- WHAT DID YOU DO FOR YOUR LAST BIRTHDAY? Visited the Aquarium of the Pacific and dined at Hamburger Mary's in Long Beach. (God, what a cute waiter!!!)
- WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Hoag Hospital
- FAVORITE SPORT? to watch: baseball; to play: bowling
Monday, December 08, 2003
Why does someone's sexual preference really matter so much? Silly question, I know, that's been asked hundreds of thousands of times.... But, no one seems to have a reasonable answer. I doubt there ever will be a reasonable answer. The only answer that seems to be heard: "It just does."
Sunday, December 07, 2003
Because Sean opted not to go to Main Street with us on Friday, he and I drove to Metro Point on Saturday to see The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise. The movie started at 12 PM, but we arrived at 12:30 so he bought tickets for the 3:30 PM showing. With plenty of time to kill, we meandered through the shops on a mini-hunt for Christmas gift ideas. I, of course, managed to spend a bit of money, but only bought one item for myself: a book titled The Men with the Pink Triangle by Heinz Heger. It's a true account of what homosexuals endured while imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camps of World War II.
According to the book, a sodomy law had been on the German law books since 1871, a law known as Paragraph 175. Enforcment of this law was fairly lax until 1935 when Hitler rose to power and enacted the Nuremberg laws, which strengthed the consequences of Paragraph 175. Where once before you had to be caught in the act of homosexual intercourse, now by simply receiving a letter from a gay friend or by being the subject of idle gossip and nasty rumors, you would be arrested and sent to a concentration camp. Once in the camps, homosexuals were treated the worst, with heavy work assignments and "volunteering" for medical experimentation.
To me, the Holocaust has always been about the Jewish people and their struggles and victories in the camps. I knew a little of the homosexual side: this is where one of our strongest symbols of Gay Pride -- the upside down pink triangle -- originated. But, to my knowledge, no one had ever really discussed anything concerning gay men and women in Germany at this dark time. This was all new to me. I had to read this book because it's a part of my cultural history as a gay man so I bought it and read it from cover to cover this morning.
What a powerful story! The hell that this one man went through and the horrific scenes he was forced to witness. I wonder if I would have the same strength of will that he had if I were in the same situation.... And, to top it all, he never received any reparations from the German government after the war because homosexuality was criminal, according to the law. Reparations were never paid to "criminals."
The Last Samurai turned out to be much better than I expected. I was expecting a re-hash of Dances with Wolves, only set in Japan, as per many of the critics' reviews I'd read. We both thoroughly enjoyed the movie. A great story, superb acting by Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe, great visuals. I think this may be a major contender for all the movie awards.
Well, I've got to go! Clark's coming over tonight to watch a DVD!
Saturday, December 06, 2003
After work, I met Clark at his store, and we carpooled to Laguna. The drive lasted 45 minutes on Pacific Coast Highway. Most nights, it's a beautiful drive, with the sun slowly sinking behind the Pacific waters and the lights twinkling on the scattered boat or oil derrick. This night, the fog started rolling in, obscuring the ocean view with a wet blackness, almost as if the ancients were right: the world is flat and that's the edge right there beyond the cliffs.
It's normally a faster drive, too, but the city was having some sort of street fair with open shops and restaurants and a closed main street. This hampered our trip and forced us to drive in circles searching for a parking spot for another 15-20 minutes. But, park we did and made it in time for dinner at the Laguna Beach Brewery. We walked afterwards up and down closed Glenneyre Street, checking out a few of the shops. the windows of one shop displayed nothing but kitchsy, country-home styled knick-knacks. (Think Frank from Trading Spaces.) The Wyland Gallery showed its usual neon-like paintings of whales and other sea life. The best shop -- for the life of me, I can't remember the name -- sold geodes, fossils, crystals, and items made from tree burls. We were mesemerized and spent a good half hour ogling and touching the merchandise.
Main Street called, however, so we left the shops and drove one of the back streets to the bar.
Friday nights are the best at Main Street. You need to realize, however, that I'm not much of a drinker. I used to tell everyone that I don't drink, but the truth is that I do have an occasional sip of wine or beer now and then, but not too often. So why go to a bar? Well, on Friday nights, our friend Karen Cobb performs her one woman -- er, sorry, Diva show. She sings a mix of R&B, soul, pop, disco, showtunes, country and her own songs, and on Fridays, she's at Main Street. I have my free Cokes while Clark has a Lemon Drop or two, and we relax to the soulfull sounds of Miss Karen. It's also just a nice change to go someplace gay for a change, instead of the movies or simply out to dinner.
Main Street was the first gay bar I ever went to on my own. I'd been to gay clubs, bars and restaurants in West Hollywood, but always with a small group. That's the easiest thing to do because you're protected, you have others to lift you up if you should slip, both literally and figuratively. But this....this was a whole new ballgame. Going by yourself into unknown territory. Would I stick out like a sore thumb because I was alone? Would some some hunky man offer to by me a drink only to take advantage of me and steal my money? Yes, I had those stupid thoughts running through my head as I walked down the stairs into the dark, smoky little bar looking for my female friend from work. The front room was a series of high-backed booths, covered in dark red leather. Each table had one of those fat, tear-shaped and bumpy candles flickering at the center. The carpet was a dark red, just like the booths. To me, it resembled a failed attempt to mimic an English pub, or at least the image I had of one from any number of books and movies. A few older men sat at those tables, a few in groups, but many more by themselves, all staring at me as I stood at the bottom of the stairs. the poor lighting did not allow me to see their eyes, but the words fresh meat popped into my head. Not seeing my friend, I quickstepped to the bar and ordered a soda, just a bit self-conscious and uncomfortable. I could sense eyes on me while I sat at the bar, but would not for the life of me turn around until I heard my friend call to me as she bounded down the stairs.
I felt as though I had gone through a rite of gay passage. My first solo bar experience. I've gone back alone once or twice just to show myself that I can do it if I ever really wanted to.
Thursday, December 04, 2003
I just purchased tickets for the 2004 performance of The Pageant of the Masters, a unique theatrical event that's been taking place in Laguna Beach, CA, for over 70 years. For anyone not familiar with it, actors, set designers, musicians all get together to re-create works of art -- paintings, sculpture, figurines, woodblocks, etc. -- on stage with live actors. It sounds odd, but it's quite spectacular to see. Instead of the flat canvases in museums, paintings such as DaVinci's The Last Supper jump out in three dimensions.
The actors must remain motionless on stage for two-three minutes. I remember reading that Bette Davis participated one year. Now THAT would have been interesting to see. Even more intriguing is they sometimes show how they create the on-stage art: actors changing into comstumes, being scooted into positoin, props being added, the gigantic frame re-sizing, then the lights dim....BAM! The paintings and other art pieces seem to jump to life in an almost-blinding white light. It's simply remarkable.
The first time I saw the Pageant, they re-created a statue from Huntington Beach titled, Ultimate Challenge by Edmund Shumpert. Amazing to see the actor hanging on in the same position as the figure in the statue, becuase the figure is riding a huge wave and is dancing his board near its crest. It seemed unbelievable!
I decided to buy tickets almost a year in advance because it always sells out. I managed to purchase tickets for our anniversary this year and settled for the very back row. However, all seats in the theater have great views of the stage so we weren't disappointed. We have better seats for next year. :)
Tuesday at The Center was just what I needed. Gathering with friends just to sit and to chat. It almost becomes a pseudo-salon, with us discussing the latest books we've read, movies, world events, relationships, etc. And, of course, ogling the men in the most recent issues of Frontiers or Cybersocket. Nice, wholesome stuff...he he he. These get-togethers with Clark and Joel make me feel more like I'm involved with the world, that I'm not sitting at home with the doors and windows shut as life passes by.
It's also cheaper than a psychiatrist....
Joel gave me a belated birthday present. (Presents are good.) The Haunting on DVD -- not the re-make, but the original, black and white version with Julie Harris. Instead of expensive visual effects, this version relies on creepy atmosphere, lighting and acting to send the chills up and down your spine. Not to mention that the character of Theo is a lesbian, and I'm very glad they retained that from the book. One of my favorite films!!!
Last night, after my thrice-a-week workout, I finished the play The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe by Jane Wagner and posted my review on Amazon and in the Rainbow Readership group on Yahoo.
Idea: find a play to see this month, if the price is right.
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
Also, I've slipped in another book for my reading list, as I'm not enjoying one of the books as much as I thought I would. Damn the dustjacket for being do misleading!!! :-( Yesterday, I began re-reading The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, a play by Jane Wagner which she wrote specially for Lily Tomlin to perform. I may add the movie to my Netflix list, too....
Last night after work was gym night. 30 minutes on the treadmill followed by another 30 mintues of weights. I don't go into the cage where the real weights and the big muscle men are. That would be too embarrassing. Instead, I use the machines in the front room for my tricep and bicep curls, seated row, chest press, lat pull, leg work, etc. I am also giving up French fries in an effort to lose some of my gut and love handles. Current stats: 33 yo, 5'11", 205 lbs. My lowest weight in the past three years is 185; I would be happy just dropping below 200.
Monday, December 01, 2003
It's the same story every year. We overstuff on the turkey and fixings, then force ourselves to eat a slice of pumpkin pie. We sit around, talking and laughing, and finally, head for our respective homes.
On my way home, I called Sean who was spending the evening with his aunt and uncle. I told him that I would see him later at the house; he told me that he was having a good time, filming the kids and watching movies and that he would see me later. Once at the house, I turned on the tv to a digital cable radio station and crashed onto the couch for a few hours with some classical music quietly playing in the background. When I awoke, my book was already on the coffee table so I read until Sean came home.
Close to 9 PM, he sauntered into the house, obviously quite drunk. I asked how dinner was and he said, "Peachy! Just peachy!" He recounted all the events, the screaming kids, the fact that he had to videotape the kids, his aunt and uncle are fine, their sons even showed up, did he mention the screaming kids? "And how was YOUR dinner? Did your folks miss me? Did they say 'Hi' to me?" I'd never seen nor heard him in such a state. He wasn't just sarcastic; he was nasty. I asked him if everything was alright, and he said from the kitchen, "Sure, everything's fine." He shoved some leftovers into the refrigerator. "You should have been there," he said, almost blaming my not being at his aunt and uncle's for his drunken state. Then, he pounded up the stairs. I sat on the couch, the room reeking of stale wine and mentholated tobacco, and wondered what just happened? In our three years together, I've seen him drunk, but never like this. He just seemed to ooze a dislike for everything from his pores.
He stomped down the stairs, dressed only in an olive-green t-shirt and his underwear. He headed straight for the kitchen, poured himself a glass of wine, grabbed a few DVDs from the shelf and stomped up the stairs. Within a few moments, Band of Brothers blasted through the ceiling. For the first time, I did not want to sleep in the same bed with him and curled up on the couch. I didn't see him again until morning.