Sunday, December 31, 2006

Scene

Cast of Characters:

ME: Me
TB: The Boyfriend

Scene: Walking to TB's car after a screening of Apocalypto. The stars shine brightly in the chilly night sky. The parking lot is covered with a thin layer of moisture that also coats the cars; our breath puffs white into the air.

TB: So, what did you think of the movie?

ME: (thinking before speaking) To tell the truth, I was kind of bored. (Blows a puff of breath into the air.) I thought you were, too. A few times I looked over, and you were reclined in your seat. I couldn't tell if your eyes were open.

TB: I wasn't asleep. (Pause) At least, I don't think I was. I just took advantage of the reclining seats. I'm a bit on the fence about the movie. The costumes were great, very elaborate.

ME: Yeah, and the make-up. I thought they did a nice job with that, all the facial piercings and stuff. But the movie seemed to last much longer than the two hours listed on the 'net.

TB: It was perfectly paced for a chase movie, but the in-between scene were a bit long.

ME: Quite a few scene could have been edited. I mean, did we really need to see the baby pop out of her? What was the point of that scene? (points to the right) I think we're over here.

TB: Oh, and when that one guy was hit on the side of the head and the blood squirted out, all I could think of was one of those Saturday Night Live skits where a finger gets chopped off and the blood spurts into the air throughout the entire scene.

ME: Well, when you started laughing so did I. I don't think we were supposed to. I noticed quite a few scenes where I think they tried a bit of humor -- the tree falling, watching the guys jump from the waterfall --

TB: That reminded me of The Fugitive.

ME: (Laughs) Those jokes seemed out of place, too modern for a film about Mayans.

TB: (clicks alarm button, opens doors) I didn't really learn anything about the Mayans, either. I thought I read in an interview where someone said, "It's as close to the vision of the Mayans as the director saw it." Or something like that; I don't remember exactly.

ME: From the film, I thought they were all about raiding villages, human sacrifices and using the castoffs for sport. I mean, they could have delved a bit more into the culture and shown us more detail about what they were about.

TB: But, at leat the chase scenes were good.

ME: Yeah. And everything Jaguar Paw used in the jungle: the cane toad, the hornet's nest -- that was cool.

TB: It's been receiving rave reviews, but it still seemed a bit flat to me.

ME: Yeah, I expected a bit more after seeing the trailer. It almost seemed like a different movie altogether. (turns down the music from the CD player). At least we didn't pay full price to see it.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Holidays in the Southland, Christmas Unwrapping

My family exchanges gifts on Christmas Eve, which my cousin's parnter found to be a bit unusual. In Spain, where he's from, the gift giving takes place on January 6, the day that the Three Kings arrived in Bethlehem bearing good tidings, frankincense, gold and myrrh. Perhaps the sight of the huge tree at my Aunt and Uncle's house, decked out in lights, tinsel and ornaments both wacky and traditional, or even the houses decorated from roof to lawn with blinking lights, reindeer, "snow" men and palm trees was a bit overwhelming for him, but not so much as making him our Santa and doling out the gifts to everyone. The constant loud chatter mingled with the ripping paper for a few hours sent him into sensory overload. Or maybe it was the sugar coma induced by the three slices fo pumpkin roll.

The entire family gathered once again on Christmas Day, and we made things a bit easier for him with a late lunch of finger sandwiches and a rousing game of Yahtzee at my parent's house. I added more photos to the "XMas 2006" album. He seemed fascinated with the singing Santa who gyrated like a go-go dancer on the kitchen table and captured a short video of the dance for his friends back in Madrid. I, on the other hand, groaned each and every time the button was pushed. My Dad received that Santa from one of his students during his final year as a teacher; every year since we've been treated to Santa singing and booty-shaking about how he's coming to town. (Okay, I do secretly think it's kinda cute, but don't tell anyone!)



My Grandmother seemed to enjoy spending time with everyone, watching the Lakers play, eating deviled eggs, and taking it easy in one of the recliners. By dusk, though, she was sound asleep, wrapped in a blanket and a comfy wool poncho from Spain. I think we were all just as tired by then so I drove my cousin and his partner back to the Aunt and Uncle's via Pacific Coast Highway to take a look at all the Christmas lights along the beach and up the hillsides.



The next day, I dragged my tired ass to work...but fortunatley for only a half day. I spent the rest of the day with The Boyfriend, exchanging our Christmas gifts then taking in a screening of Dreamgirls. In short: INCREDIBLE movie! Jennifer Hudson received thunderous applause from the audience after singing And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going, she was that good. Eddie Murphy kept his comedy understated but sang the hell out of his songs and shined as Jimmy Early. We finished the evening enjoying iced cream from Coldstone Creamery and watching Dirty Jobs.

Friday, December 29, 2006

First Line Friday

The answer to last week's first line: >

Congratulations to Tony over at Life's Colorful Brushstrokes for being the first one to correctly guess this classic from The Beach Boys. They originally released it as a Christmas single in 1963, and it reached the #3 spot on Billboard's Christmas List for that year. In 1964, they included it on their Christmas Album.

With New Year's celebrations set for this weekend, I've selected a song from the supergroup ABBA to help ring in 2007:

No more champagne
And the fireworks are through
Here we are, me and you
Feeling lost and feeling blue


Have fun this weekend, and if you're going out partying, remember to find a designated driver!!!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Holidays in the Southland, Photos 6 and 7

Saturday afternoon, we eased up the freeway into Los Angeles to the Music Center. In fact, we encountered very little traffic so we arrived a bit earlier than we needed to. Luckily, I brought my camera and walked around taking a few pictures of the sculpture "Peace on Earth" by artist Jacques Lipchitz. We eventually found an empty table and shared a deli wrap sandwich as kids gleefully ran through the foutains of water surrounding the sculpture trying not to get wet, as their parents laughed along, video cameras rolling. I hoped none of them would be struck by a mis-timed water spout because a slight chill blew the leaves and some spray about the plaza. After a while, the chill finally convinced us to go inside the theater to find our seats.


Neither of us knew what to expect, but this ballet definitely wowed us. Colorful costumes and sets evoking 1960s America; wonderful music by Terry Davies that incorporates the main movie themes by Danny Elfman; the original London ensemble; Matthew Bourne's unique take on dance, especially the scene involving most of the cast dressed as topiary figures while Kim and Edward weave in between them; and the lead dancer as Edward Scissorhands, wearing giant scissors on his hands as he lifts jumps twirls. The entire audience gave him a standing ovation during the curtain call, and as he bowed, snow began falling on the orchestra section.


We went to our usual West Hollywood restaurant afterwards for dinner, and as we finished our meals, who should walk by carrying packages and checking out some of the shops but my favorite porn star (link is not work safe), Eric Evans. Or someone who happened to look a lot like him. We weren't sure at first, but after many clandestine sideways glances, we agreed that it was indeed Mr. Evans. Dang, I should have taken a picture!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Bookwhore Chronicles: Ten Favorite Reads of 2006

I didn't realize until looking through my list at LibraryThing how many books I've read during the past year. So trying to determine a list of my favorite books from 2006 became quite a daunting task, with many books crossed out then re-added, replaced, moved up or down the list. But I narrowed it down and am presenting to you my "Ten Favorite Reads of 2006."




  1. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  2. The Sea of Light by Jenifer Levin
  3. Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig
  4. The Persian Boy by Mary Renault
  5. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
  6. Father of Frankenstein by Christopher Bram
  7. On the Beach by Nevil Shute
  8. Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
  9. The Town That Forgot How To Breathe by Kenneth J. Harvey
  10. The Psycho Ex Game by Merrill Markoe and Andy Prieboy


Just as a caveat, not all the books were published in 2006; in fact, a few were from last century. (It's so weird to say that! "Last century" was less than ten years ago!!)

Friday, December 22, 2006

First Line Friday

The answer to last week's:

Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses; music/lyrics by Chris Butler







From Wikipedia: "The song is sung from the point of view a busy single woman who is adamant that she will try to sit-out the exhausting Christmas period. She reveals that, during the course of the year, she has attempted to meet up with a man she encountered in a ski shop the previous year. Despite the couple's attempts to meet, a succession of mishaps conspires to keep them apart. Finally on Christmas Eve, while the protagonist (after stating that A&P provided her with "the world's smallest turkey") is doing last-minute shopping for cranberries at a local convenience store, ends up running into the man after discovering that he, too, forgot to buy cranberries. This coincidence seems to hint that she shouldn't completely abandon her faith in the magic of Christmas."

So it's the Friday before the big day. Out here in the Southland, we enjoyed a surprise rainstorm this morning which dripped away into sunshine. In keeping with the southland-beachy-cold-snowless theme, today's First Line is a holiday classic from The Beach Boys, released in 1963:

Well a way up North where the air gets cold,
There's a tale about Christmas that we've all been told
And a real famous cat all dressed up in red,
And spends his whole year workin out on his sled


And with that, I will be taking a few days of to celebrate, to be with family, to sleep in. I want to thank everyone who's visited my blog this year and to wish all of you a Merry Christmas or Happy Chanukkah or Joyous Kwanzaa or Happy Holidays! Take care!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Randomness

- I displayed my butchness yesterday by replacing the bulb in my driver-side headlight last night. Of course, it took about 15 minutes to remove all that grease from my hands, and a little bit still remains under my fingernails no matter how much I go at them with a nail file.

- My office will hold an "Appetizer Fiesta" tomorrow so tonight I will be cooking in my tiny kitchen. Okay, not exactly cooking as all the ingredients are cold and the dish goes in the refrigerator when done, but you get the idea. Tasty Tortilla Roll-Ups, thanks to the folks at All Recipes.

- I have received a grand total of two ChristmaKwanzUkkahDan cards: one from Robert (a.k.a. Mr. Happysad) which arrived with a wonderful CD of music (thank you! I've listened to it too many times already!); the other from Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez featuring her resting comfortably in a beach chair with her kitty. I mailed fifteen cards at the beginning of the month.

- Is anyone else annoyed by that Cingular ad featuring the morons who can't get the lyrics to The Clash's Rock the Casbah correct? It's a sad day for music....

- Why is it that home improvement shows seem to have the hunkiest men on TV? And where can I sign up to have them fix my home?

- Saturday, I'm giving my Sweetie an early Christmas present: we're going to see Matthew Bourne's Edward Scissorhands at the Ahmanson. Don't worry; he already knows I'm taking him. He'll be driving, after all.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Holidays in the Southland, Photo #5

The Huntington Beach Pier


Large blue snowflakes lined either side of the Pier, all the way to the Ruby's at the tip. Each had a small placard besdie it stating who donated it to add to the city's holiday spirit. Very nice to look at, but the chilly wind kept many people away. A few lone fisherman cast their lines and occasionally laughed as I snapped a few pictures.

Monday, December 18, 2006

It's All About the Food

I can tell when my parents enjoyed one of their many trips because all they talk about are the diferent restaurants. "We had the best hamburgers at this little café." "The chicken enchildas at such and such in Prescott were delicious." "Blah and blah suggested we try this place, and it was sooo goood!" Nothing about the sights or the people they met or the tours. Just stories about the wonderful dishes and restaurants and drinks and so on.

After this past weekend, I find myself falling into the same parental trap.

Friday night's dinner at Nick & Stef's Steakhouse was downright mouthwatering. A wonderful flatbread pizza and some rich crabcakes made their way from table to table. Then, the crispy chicken literally fell from the bone and melted in my mouth. The mashed potatoes and the roasted asparagus were to die for. And the garlic parmesan fries! Saturday's dinner with friends visiting from Las Vegas was spent at Chen's in Long Beach. Steaming bowls of wonton soup served with paper wrapped chicken and egg rolls. Heaping plates of cashew chicken, beef broccoli, lemon chicken and Moo Goo Gai Pan. You had to roll me from the restaurant through the rain back to the apartment. And I still have two containers of leftovers in my refrigerator! Sunday night, the four of us ventured to the Claim Jumper and devoured the onion rings, mozzarella and zucchini sticks, the potato cakes and chicken wings before the main course. Three of the group ordered meat loaf which they ran out of so the manager offered to comp one of their dinners. The friends from LV switched their order to chicken and biscuits, while my Sweetie ordered the chicken fried steak (which had to be at least 5 pounds!!). Then, the dessert we ordered was also completely gone so the manager comped the entire meal.

If you ask what else we did for the weekend? Something about visiting Equal Writes, trying to crash Venus Envy Night at Hamburger Mary's, and a bit more holiday shopping.

But the food was incredible!!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Holidays in the Southland, Photo #4

My office held its Holiday Party last night in conjunction with our Los Angeles office. Last year, a few of us partied at the House of Blues with The Bangles, but this year, we chose one of the best steakhouses in Southern California: Nick & Stef's Steakhouse. Only we had to drive from various parts of Huntington Beach to downtown Los Angeles on a Friday night. Hey, you do what you gotta do for a free meal and a fine restaurant. Surprisingly, the drive only took about 45 minutes with very few rough traffic spots. We walked through a courtyard with the trees wrapped in lights at the Wells Fargo Tower to get to the restaurant and met fellow partiers as they were being led to a larger room within the tower. So we sat at tables surrounded by Christmas trees, escalators, a California Pizza Kitchen, and many workers from various offices throughout the building staring at the 30-40 of us drinking, eating incredible crispy chicken or filet mignon and red velvet cake, opening white elephant gifts. Our dining cavern unfortuantely did not have bathrooms so I walked into the restaurant proper to find them -- past the gigantic wine vault with bottles tipped to the proper angles, past the vast glass-walled meat locker with huge slabs of beef and pork dangling from hooks or spread onto wooden shelving.

Three hours and a mad exchange of white elephant gifts later (the most popular of which was a Ralphie from "A Christmas Story" talking doll), and I think the Boyfriend and I were sufficiently stuffed and ready to head back home.

Friday, December 15, 2006

First Line Friday

And the answer to last week's is:

Merry Christmas, Darling by The Carpenters; music by Richard Carpenter, lyrics by Frank Pooler






From Songfacts.com: "The lyric was written in 1946 by Frank Pooler, who was the choir director at California State University, Long Beach. Karen and Richard Carpenter were both part of the choir. In 1966, at Pooler's request, Richard composed the music for this ballad, which has been a hit every Christmas since its release in 1970. " Probably my all time favorite Christmas song, it reached the number one spot on the U.S. charts in 1970. And congratulations to Joey for being the first to correctly name it!

Since the big holiday is less than two weeks away, I decided to keep with the holiday music theme and found this gem from 1981:

"Bah, humbug!" No, that's too strong
'Cause it is my favorite holiday
But all this year's been a busy blur
Don't think I have the energy


This classic from The Waitresses has since been covered by girl-power group Spice Girls and Orange County-based ska punk band Save Ferris with slightly different lyrics.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Holidays in the Southland, Photo #3

I finished my holiday shopping Tuesday evening at South Coast Plaza a large, upscale shopping mall in the heart of Costa Mesa, CA. It's a nice place to visit during the holidays, if you don't mind the enormous crowds jostling their bags of Burberry and Cartier from one end of the mall to the other. Garlands and lights hang in all the common areas; the street entrances to the parking lots are guarded by twiggy reindeer seated atop gigantic, glittery red ornaments; the as-tall-as-it-is-wide fake tree almost sprouts from the tiles near Williams-Sonoma. Across the footbridge, in what used to be called Crystal Court (but has since been taken over by South Coast Plaza), stands the tree in the picture above, rising three floors at the center of the building. The trunk is made of small elfen dwellings with lit windows and a train snaking through the branches. The leafy part of the tree is held up by two very large Santa-ish figures. And various Santas from around the World weave in and out of the leaves. To top it off, instead of an angel is a glass snowglobe with Santa and his sleigh in flight amid a flurry of snowflakes.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Returning

My skills at reviewing movies are considerably lacking as you can tell from reading my last movie-related posts. The problem: when I really like a movie, I want to tell everyone every single detail about the film in order to get them interested. And in doing so, give away almost too much of the film, ruining most of the potential moviegoers enjoyment. That's what I will try not to do with regards to Pedro Almodóvar's latest movie, Volver starring Penélope Cruz and Carmen Maura.

Cruz portrays Raimunda, a working-class Spanish woman working a myriad of low-pay jobs and raising her daughter while her slacker husband drinks and loses his job. Raimunda, along with her sister Soledad, also helps to maintain her mother's grave and to watch over her elderly Aunt Paula. After returning home from work one night, Raimunda finds her husband stabbed to death, throwing her somewhat orderly life into turmoil and bringing out family secrets and the "ghost" of her mother, killed during a tragic fire many years ago.


Almodóvar seems to have cornered the market on writing strong parts for women and knows how to get the most from his actors. Cruz gives an Oscar-worthy turn to her portrayal of Raimunda, revealing her strengths and weaknesses but never letting us forget that she can find a way to overcome any obstacle in order to protect her family. Carmen Maura's Abuela Irene is charming, funny and as strong-minded as her daughter Raimunda. Blanca Portillo, Lola Duenas and Yohana Cobo round out the cast with fine, strong performances. Almodóvar scatters a few male actors throughout the film (Paco the husband, a restaurant owner and a worker from a film crew), but this film belongs to the women.

One of the best films to be released in 2006, I highly recommend it once it makes it to wider release.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Holidays in the Southland, Photo #2

Yep, this is my version of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Only a slight bit taller and made of plastic. Nothing too fancy for me. You may notice that even with my Scooby Doo Mystery Machine ornament and the Waterford crystal Mickey Mouse and Friends and a vast assortment of other pieces collected through the "years," the tree is barren of lights. I couldn't find them when I set the tree up so I placed all the ornaments, then went in search of wrapping paper. And that's when I found the lights but was just too darn lazy to remove all the ornaments, string the tree with lights, then rehang each and every one. I think it looks fine without them.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Holidays in the Southland, Photo #1

Just a little brotherly love during the holidays.

Friday, December 08, 2006

First Line Friday

The answer to last week's:

What Would I Do? from the musical Falsettos, music/lyrics by William Finn

Last year, a local community theater produced this show in conjunction with the AIDS Memorial Quilt. During the final scene of the show, Marvin sings this song to his dying lover. As he holds the final note, the backdrop slowly parted, revealing panels from the quilt, and I remember the audience remained in respectful silence, with maybe a few sniffles here and there, hands wiping tears away. Once the lights returned, the actors filed on stage together and received a well-deserved standing ovation.


To switch gears a little bit, the next First Line comes from The Carpenters and is one of my favorite holiday songs:

Greeting cards have all been sent
The Christmas rush is through
But I still have one more wish to make
A special one for you


The song was released in 1970, reaching the #1 position on the U.S. charts. And, while we're on the subject of holiday songs, what are some of your favorites?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Bookwhore Chronicles: Song of the Loon

A "pastoral," to paraphrase the many online dictionaries I checked, is a literay or other artistic work depicting rural life in an ideal way. The air smells cleaner, the sun shines brighter, and all living things are strong and robust. Author Richard Amory aptly applied that term to his book, Song of the Loon, set in an all-male, idyllic Oregon. Each character, both young and old, is perfectly muscled, with a penis reaching almost to his knees, testicles that brush the ground when he kneels, and a never-ending sex drive. Okay, maybe that last part was a bit of an exaggeration, but I think you get the idea.

Loon follows the sexual adventures of a 19th century outdoorsman named Ephraim MacIver, as he travels through the wilderness of Oregon both trying to hide from a former lover bent on revenge and searching for the members of the Loon Society to help him understand his sexual yearnings. Along the way, he meets many members (pun intended) of the society, and through their teachings, he learns that his feelings toward other men are okay, that having sex with another man does not make you less of a man. In one passage, after making love to an Indian name Tsi-nokha, Ephraim says:

"Yes, you are a man -- proud, fierce, brave, strong; you have always been and always will be a man. And I love you -- as a man, because you are a man. Do you understand that?"


A very strong message for 1966 when the book was originally published. And when most novels with gay characters, either mainstream or pulp, kill the gay characters because they are depressed or felt that they deserve to die because of their urges, Amory offers an alternative with all the characters living happily ever after.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"I've got those ten little tip-tap-tapping toes"*

I remember when the trailer first appeared, listening to Robin Williams with a Latin accent singing My Way as his penguin alter ego danced and strutted on the ice. Everyone in the theater laughed, and I though tto myself Hmm, looks like a cute movie. Maybe we should see it. A few weeks later, an extended trailer appeared, with Emperor penguins tap dancing à la Savion Glover to Stevie Wonder's I Wish, and my desire started to plummet. To me, it looked cheesy, the music seemed out of synch with the characters, and I decided not to see it. Then, with my waffling movie sense -- and the fact that the movie sat in the #1 spot for a third week in a row -- I convinced the Boyriend that we should see the movie, Happy Feet.

The movie started with a bizarre scene of a nebula in space, with the sultry voice of k.d. lang singing something about golden slumbers, then a quick trek through space, around the Earth and landing on a group of Emperor penguins during their mating season. Each one sings a song, trying to find the perfect mate, so the cacophony of different songs and styles is almost ear-busting and doesn't let up for most of the film. Zoom in on a svelte female named Norma Jean (voiced by Nicole Kidman doing a overly breathy and bad Marilyn Monroe impersonation) singing Prince's Kiss and turning down every slick penguin who tries to woo her. She almost seems to give up until she hears an gruff, Elvis-like Heartbreak Hotel from a penguin named Memphis (voiced by Hugh Jackman). They fall in love, she lays an egg, he takes care of it while she goes in search of food -- typical boy-meets-girl stuff. Only, when the egg finally hatches, little Mumble can't stop moving his happy feet, much to the consternation of his father who doesn't want the other penguins to see. Mumble also can't sing, further ostracizing him from his family and the other penguins. Even the "religious" leaders, the followers of The Guin, foresee nothing but trouble with one so different as Mumble.

It was at this point that the seemingly gay undertone of the movie hit me. Mumble was born different from the rest of the penguin and sees nothing wrong with who he is. His father shuns him for the difference, other penguins make fun of him. The "religious" few use the fear of their God to convince everyone that Mumble is the cause of their problems. (Just hearsay and what I read into the film, I know, but I started to warm to it a bit more.)

Robin Williams steals the movie with both his roles: as Ramón, the leader of a small group of penguins, and Lovelace, their Barry White-ish spiritual leader. A few scenes do get a bit dark, such as the chase between Mumble and a Sea Lion. And, as I mentioned, the music is very loud and almost non-stop, making a few of the scenes hard to understand. But, I still enjoyed the movie.

Until the whole thing turns in a completely different direction. Mumble decides to find out what's happening to the food supply, though the "religious" elders blame the decline in fish on his happy feet. In a strange mix of live action and computer generated characters, hallucinatory visions while being held in a zoo, and a weird montage of governments and politicians, the movie ends on a decidedly environmental note.

I know my mouth dropped when the weirdness began; maybe the Boyfriend's did, too. We both left the theater uncertain whether we enjoyed the film or not. Was it too political for its target audience? Perhaps, because it certainly did bind someone's girdle in a knot. Go see it for yourself and let me know what you think.



* Lyrics from the song Happy Feet by Jack Yellen and Milton Ager.

Monday, December 04, 2006

My First Time

At a dinner party on Saturday evening, the discussion turned to the gay scene in Los Angeles. More specifically, the gay bars. Most at the table grew up in the Los Angeles area and knew all of the bars in West Hollywood, Silver Lake and elsewhere: Arena, the Farm, the Flying Frog, etc. One of the diners carried homemade flags in his cargo pants to twirl in time with the music; others talked of going to one club until it closed then following the hordes to yet another and then another bar trying to party as much as possible until the first rays of sunlight burned through the front doors.

In Orange County, the bar scene was -- and still is -- quite different.

Back in '93 or '94, I had just come out to a friend with whom I felt comfortable because he had come out a few months earlier. We talked about how we felt, how long we'd each known, and after a while he asked if I'd ever been to a gay bar or club. I told him no, that I didn't even think Orange County had any gay bars. In super-conservative Orange County? He mentioned a few in Laguna Beach that he visited on his own, like the Boom Boom room, but said those might be a bit much for someone just coming out. The atmosphere, the music, and all the men sizing you up and down once you walk through the door. Yes, it sounded it intimidating, not knowing what to expect. Would the bars be filled with the leather men and drag queens like the news or movies showed? But, I was definitely interested in diving into the gay world. My friend told me of another club, Metropolis, that was only gay on the first Sunday of the month, very close to the UC Irvine campus, and we decided to test the waters that weekend.

When Sunday evening arrived, I was so nervous. Was I dressed properly (jeans, black boots, long-sleeved denim shirt)? Did I look good enough to show my face at a gay bar? Did I even know how to dance? Would anyone try to hit on me? How would I know? And if they did, what the Hell should I do? My friend drove, and as we pulled into the parking lot, my anxiety increased, but this was something I needed to do in order to make myself part of the community. A rite of passage, I kept telling myself as we quietly walked to the door, then paid the cover. We were soon inside, trying to make our way to the bar in the half-dark, the music thump-thump-thumping so loud inside my ears that we shouted our order to the bartender.

The things I remember the most from that night: all the men, mostly college-aged, talking chatting drinking laughing being themselves. Kissing and hugging other men. As if the constraints from the world outside could in no way affect them. The dancing, not necessarily to show prowess or skill, but to enjoy being able to dance with other men. I remember sliding right onto the dance floor and just moving, doing whatever I felt inside, throwing my arms in the air spinning bumping grinding. I danced with my friend, by myself, with random people around me. I exhausted myself with the feeling of finally being me.

When we left hours later, still carrying a water bottle from the bar, my clothes soaked with sweat, all noises muffled as my ears re-adjusted to normal levels, I remember how liberating it felt to be on the dance floor with other men. I survived my first rite of gay passage.

Friday, December 01, 2006

First Line Friday

The answer to last week's:

Everyday Is Like Sunday performed by Morrissey; music by Stephen Street, lyrics by Morrissey

This was the second single released from Morrissey's debut solo album Viva Hate in May of 1988, and managed to reach the #9 spot on the UK charts. Interesting to note, the album's original title was Education in Reverse until Morrissey decided to rename it to reflect his feelings upon the break up of The Smiths. (More info from Wikipedia.)



With today being World AIDS Day, I've selected a song from the musical Falsettos -- a moving musical about AIDS and how it affects lovers, families and friends.

What would I do
If I had not met you?
Who would I blame
My life on?


Falsettos is actually the combination of two short musicals by William Finn: 1988's March of the Falsettos and 1991's Falsettoland. The shows were combined in 1992. This song, which appears toward the end of the second act, had me in tears during the performance last year.

Support World AIDS Day

The AIDS Memorial Quilt

Project Angel Food