Thursday, May 29, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 5

I got my second dose of the hepatitis A/B vaccination this morning at Callen-Lorde, at the hand of the male nurse who I believe flirted like mad with Marvelous on a recent visit of his there, then proceeded to ask Marvelous out. He declined. But at least I'm on my way to being immune to hepatitis, God forbid I'm ever exposed to it. (And I found out the results of the lab work I had done weeks ago in connection with my recent STD: I tested negative for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea--even though I was obviously symptomatic for one of the latter two. Maybe it was too early for whatever I had to show up; at least the antibiotics killed it and it's gone.)

In other news, my therapy group officially disbanded after this Tuesday's meeting. Two of the members, including the new father, are joining my shrink's other group; the other father is going back to his personal shrink for individual sessions; and I'm going back to my shrink one on one. I decided to forgo more group therapy mostly because I can't afford to do it and individual therapy at the same time, and I just haven't been getting enough out of the group to warrant continued involvement. Plus, I feel like my voice has basically been marginalized--with all the other group members' almost ten or more years older than me and in committed relationships, living out their fantasies of domesticity, I didn't feel like I totally belonged. Of course, my shrink would reject this as a reason to leave, and almost did recently when he asked if such alienation prevented me from doing my own "work" in the group. Well, yes and no.

As soon as the new father, who just returned to group after a month-long absence in which he "took possession," as it were, of his newborn adopted daughter, started talking about his kid, which he did for more than ten minutes in a row, I knew I made the right decision. It was so insipid. Who really cares?

P.S. I still owe you guys the account of my crazy Saturday night. Perhaps I'll save it for a boring streak...

Monday, May 26, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 2

Despite the atrocious weather (is this, like, the worst spring ever?), I still managed to have quite a lot of fun these past two nights. I've rarely left my apartment during daylight hours the last four days (I had Friday off too), but I've more than made up for it at night. Last night, for instance, I hung out for several hours with L.Ho and our friend C.B., visiting from D.C. We started off at Korova Milk Bar on Avenue A, which is possibly one of the worst bars in the city (I'd only been there once before), but C.B. wanted to check it out for its A Clockwork Orange-inspired everything, and I'm not one to disappoint out-of-town visitors. That, and I was basically just meeting them before moving on--there was no heavy time investment (in fact, I was there for under an hour).

Then we hightailed it to the Park for The Rambles, where, in addition to the usual festivities, an editor of one of the local gay rags, who happened to go to the same college as me, was hosting his birthday party upstairs in the lounge and deck area. I was expecting an open bar and a huge spread of food, even cake (!)--not to mention a big crowd--but I was disappointed on every count. So we descended to the actual Rambles party, where we partied down for the next two or three hours. That joint was packed, no doubt due in part to people's washed-out plans to go out of town. I've never seen so many people there (not that I've gone that many times, but still); when we were leaving, in fact, at 1:30, the line to get in stretched down the block. (Why people were even waiting in line so late, I don't know.) The crowded house made for an especially lively time, and the go-go boys, who seem to have increased in number, were in fine form. One of them, before we realized he was a dancer, was standing next to us by the bar, and smiled at C.B.; the next thing we knew, he was dancing on the bar clutching a pair of overalls over his crotch, pubes peeking out from the sides. Hot.

After catching the Cooler Kids' performance, which was fun if not as good as I might have expected, we jumped in a cab and headed to the Marquee for the Cheez Whiz reunion. I'd only been to the original Cheez Whiz once, so I was dying to check it out again (apparently its successor, Star Tartare, never quite got off the ground), and it certainly didn't disappoint. Sweetie was highly entertaining as usual--I'd say she's my fave queen on the scene these days--and the other performers (Juicy Absolute and Poison Ivy among them) were too. And SammyJo, the DJ, made for some tasty eye candy. I never had a chance to observe him so closely before--he's lovely. If only he weren't madly in love with Justin Bond (who was at the party, as was Kenny Mellman and who we think was Casey Spooner), I might fantasize about him.

After the performances, we danced around for awhile (the go-go boy from the Park who smiled at C.B., and who I thought was mad sexy, showed up, then proceeded to dance with C.B. for a hot minute or two to my chagrin), then called it a night. By then it was 3:30 or so, and the rain hadn't returned yet--nor, of course, had it started to get light out, as it did the night before, when I didn't get home until 6:30 a.m. But more on that tomorrow, I think.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 1

If Nicole Kidman can bum the occasional cigarette, then so can I--and I shouldn't feel guilty about it.

So I snagged a copy of the just-released new version of The Joy of Gay Sex at work yesterday (courtesy of a thoughtful colleague), and I've been enthralled ever since. I've always been curious about the information and descriptions, both verbal and pictorial, contained within the book; now that I've had a chance to peruse them, they certainly don't disappoint. The pictures alone, an interesting collision between middle-school health-class imagery and a hard-core porn aesthetic, have titillated me enough, so much so that last night while I laid in bed reading the book, I ended up jacking off. I got that hot. (Not, it should be noted, that everything the book covers is hot. The sober explanations of the dangers of barebacking and other ill-advised yet popular gay male activities are enough to chop down any woodie.)

Still, The Joy of Gay Sex is mostly entertaining. It even caught the attention of a seemingly straight boy at the bar Welcome to the Johnsons last night, where I was showing the book to L.Ho and M-dash (who departed today to tour Europe for several weeks with a punk band). They were just as bowled over by it as I was. Back to the boy, though, I saw him steal several glances at it from across the narrow aisle separating us from him and his friends. Of course, I also saw him steal several glances at me. In fact, he touched my foot with his own once while returning to his seat from a bathroom break, in such a way that it could've been premeditated. Not that anything came (pun intended) from any of this, except an emboldened sense of mine of the possibility of seducing straight hipster boys. (And may I add here that the bartender there last night was my ideal type: tall, lanky, with black greasy longish hair that fell in his face, and a tightie-whitie waistband that kept peeking out of his pants whenever he extended his body. Yummy.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 0

Ugh, did you see the double coverage of blog culture in the Times yesterday? Both by Warren St. John, one on Elizabeth Spiers and my fave, Gawker; the other on blogs and bloggers in general, particularly those of the so-called "New York school" that St. John references in the Gawker piece. Totally atrocious and vomit-inducing all around.

Okay, well maybe not so much the Spiers article, although the bloggers mentioned in it (Jonathan Van Gieson, Lockhart Steele) are definitely obnoxious, pretentious, and, worst of all, boring. Van Gieson, for instance, who has only been blogging since December, perpetually refers to how "famous" he is, and how "exciting" he and his "famous" friends are, without the slightest trace of sarcasm or irony or self-deprecation. (Lockhart, at least, provides occasional scoops about goings-on in my neighborhood.) Can he really be so myopic and self-absorbed as to think that because he writes about himself he's somehow notable or worthy of attention? Isn't that taking the whole "I think, therefore I am" business a bit too far? It's not like the Times is an arbiter of cool, after all. They published a piece yesterday on trucker hats, which wannabe stylin' hipsters have been sporting for over a year and a half now. Pretty of the moment, eh?

But despite my love of Gawker, I have to say that Spiers seems to be getting a little too big for her britches. Reading articles like this one (not to mention her own constant self-promotion on the site) makes me wish that the concept of selling out never went out of vogue. If all the bloggers willingly interviewed in these two articles (Deirdre Clemente, Rick Bruner) aren't the definition of selling out, then I don't know what it means. And let's not forget the fact that for the most part, they're pretty bad blogs too.

Okay, blast off. For now. It's just shit like this really gets my goat. I never feel more out of step with my generation than when it comes to seemingly everyone's wild desire for publicity of any kind. Whatever happened to actually deserving attention because you were good at something, not because you demanded it, or sought it?

Anyway, in news of my own life, I had a wonderful set of beers in the cozy back garden of Iona in Williamsburg tonight with the married A. and A. and J-bird, none of whom I've seen in several weeks. It was so nice catching up with them and enjoying the pleasantly temperate weather, even though a tiny toy dog took a dump less than a foot from where we were sitting. It reminded me of the two toddlers who, with the assistance of their parents, took dumps onto mulch less than a few feet away from the group of us celebrating Edster's birthday yesterday afternoon in a park in Chelsea. That, of course, was much, much worse than the dog. At least his owner wasn't holding his forearms, pointing his ass to the ground, helping him to defecate in plain sight of people, as these parents were doing with their kids. Tactless.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 1

I got nicely drunk last night and ended up in the chat rooms of Gay.com at 3:15 in the morning, wondering what the hell I was doing. After all, I had just bragged to my shrink a mere few days earlier about a) not having had sex with anyone in almost three months (my escapade at Happy Ending notwithstanding) and b) not having gone online in a sex-related way in much longer. At least I had the gumption to refrain from meeting up with anyone, even though I was approached with participating in two separate threesomes, one with a 21-year-old. I knew they'd end up in disaster, so I allowed myself to take a pass. When I woke up this morning, I was so glad I did. Guess my therapy is working...

Still, I did meet one interesting guy, a Libra, whom I chatted with for quite some time and seemed to hit it off with. I've been dying to meet a guy of his astrological persuasion because it's my most compatible sign, and I've never not gotten along famously with a Libra. Anyway, we resolved to get together in person in the near future and see what happens, despite my dismal track record with converting online chemistry into its offline counterpart. We will see. He promised to call and, as yet, hasn't. Probably a good thing.

Had a fun time out on the town with Edster last night, whom I hadn't seen in awhile. We did the usual East Village bar crawl, which I haven't done in weeks, and were shocked to discover that Wonder Bar, fail-safe standby, was pretty dead for a Saturday night--especially for 12:30 a.m., when the joint is usually bumping. In fact, I've never seen as few people as were there last night. Which is not to say that it was deserted or anything, but that was almost the case. I waited for Edster to chat with some boring-looking acquaintances while I finished my drink and then we left for the Phoenix, where we also stayed for just one drink. Then it was back to the Slide/the Marquee for their High-Life/Low-Life party, produced by Danny Nardicio, where we had started the evening off a few hours earlier, when the fabulous bouncer let us in for free even though the cover was five bones at that point. I'd read in Page Six that Marc Jacobs and Pat Fields (who lives near the space on the Bowery) had shown up the week before, which made me feel like I was missing out on something. As I always say, at least to myself, if there's a scene, I want to be there, even if just to check it out.

And this party was definitely a scene. Edgy, electro-tinged dance music downstairs, which hipster rock-and-roll go-go boys were getting down to, and a live performance by the queer boy-fronted band Bullet upstairs, where host Sweetie was reigning free. There were sexy, entrancing, slightly threatening rocker boys galore, and I spotted Justin Bond in the crowd. (Later I bummed a smoke from Scotty the Blue Bunny, sans outfit, who apparently is involved in throwing the party. I regret not working him more so that I could ensure future free entries.) Although the age of most revelers seemed decidedly in the thirties--the adorable, fashionable mid-twenties gay boys so often seen in the East Village were few and far between, save for myself of course--the overall vibe made up for it. Which makes sense, when you consider the fact that most of them were around for the last significant flowering of the East Village scene, in the mid to late 90s, so they know how it's supposed to be. In any event, I'm planning to make this party a regular fixture of my nightlife schedule.

Earlier in the day I had gone to the Met, alone, where I caught the Thomas Struth photography show, which I had been jonesing to see, and the Manet/Velazquez exhibition, which was quite interesting if exhaustive (and exhausting). And I also, as is now customary, checked in on the remains of my favorite Egyptian mummy, Nany. I've been trying to write a poem about her for over a year now, and I'm happy to report that I was so inspired yesterday after seeing her that as soon as I got home, the words just spilled out of me, to the point where I now have a pretty good working draft of the poem. I'm thrilled, not least because I was beginning to think that my talent for writing poetry was beginning to fade away. Working and freelancing all the time (and planning to work on a book proposal and then not following through) are not particularly conducive to crafting personal creative visions.

As for Friday night, I stayed in, after seeing that new film Blue Car with some friends from work straight after work. It's really good. And tonight I'm going to stay in as well and watch the Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of Zadie Smith's White Teeth on PBS.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 3

So plugging that snapshot of La Zeta naked smoking has apparently driven my blog traffic through the roof--in fact, to heights I never thought my modest creation would ever reach. At first I thought the increased visitors were due to the blog's own merits--I thought perhaps some more famous blogger had discovered and linked to me--but then I noticed all the Google searches in my Sitemeter breakdown and realized the true reason. Not that I'm complaining. I'll take new readers any way I can, and hopefully keep some of them too. Just goes to show you that cigarettes ain't all bad.

Well, I made it through my mad week and on to La La Land, where I arrived a hair before midnight Thursday to visit my boy El Mar, whom I hadn't seen since he visited me here two months ago. We had the best time, even though, until Sunday, the weather was hardly representative of Southern California's famous sunny climate. But we persevered anyway, getting up at the crack of dawn Friday (after sleeping less than four hours) so that I could make my debut on talk radio as a guest on a morning drive-time show broadcast on the OutQ channel of the new Sirius satellite network, also available online. It went really well, and I look forward to more gigs in the future, possibly as a New York correspondent.

Later that day, after chilling and catching up on some sleep, we went to Santa Monica to have lunch with an old friend of mine from high school, whom I hadn't seen in almost five years, mostly because he basically disappeared as soon as he graduated from college. Then he was my rave buddy and drug guru; now he's a successful video game programmer with a chipped tooth who told me he made over $100,000 last year. I didn't protest when he offered to pick up the check.

That night we saw X2 with 9998 other people at this wonderful old-school, art-deco movie theater formerly owned by Fox in Westwood. I loved it, and the flick too. Then, while it poured out, we hit up the Pop Stars party at the West Hollywood club Ultra Suede with some of El Mar's friends (and some of their friends). It's basically like Pop Rocks here, but not nearly as cool (although Pop Rocks isn't all that either), yet El Mar paid no heed to my calls to go elsewhere as he was trying to, first, hook up with an HR employee at a new record label where he was trying to get a job and, second, hook up with an up-and-coming young agent at one of the top talent firms. (He's an actor, so sleeping around comes naturally to him.) He ended up going home with the latter, leaving me fairly drunk and alone. Somehow I managed to find the rental car (a convertible red Sebring, which I'd been upgraded to!) and drive back to his apartment a few blocks away.

The next morning we had brunch with the talk show host and an only-in-L.A. gaggle of his gay male friends (one of whom hugged me when we were introduced, then counseled me on the lessons of the Kabbalah) at a popular WeHo eat place. Then we hit up the main branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art downtown (I'd been to see a Takashi Murakami-curated show a few visits ago at the Pacific Design Center), where we sighted Lucy Liu (and her tall, white boyfriend, along with members of her family). Next I hit up the vintage shops of Melrose, scoring a Judds 1991 farewell concert tour t-shirt and a Michael Bolton "Time, Love, & Tenderness" one for five bucks each. And that night we checked out ex-New Yorker Mario Diaz's Hot Dog party at the Parlour, where I had one of the best times I've had out in quite some time. Although the boys weren't nearly as cool, or as cute, as the ones I've come to expect to see here, the vibe and music (electro-y but not too electro-y, with plenty of classics thrown in for good measure) were unmatched.

On my last day there, Sunday, the weather was absolutely gorgeous, so we mostly just drove around with the top down, zigzagging through the Hollywood Hills on Mulholland Drive, which I'd never been on, and going out to Malibu, where I hadn't been before either. I forgot to put sunscreen on, so my face got a little burned, but the ride--and scenery--was totally worth it. And on the way back to El Mar's apartment, we made the requisite stop at the Kabbalah Centre in Beverly Hills, the very one Madonna studies at. The whole place radiated "cult" to me, but that didn't stop me from purchasing a bottle of Kabbalah water (slogan: "cleansing the soul") as a souvenir, as well as a piece of red string that cost me 20 bucks and supposedly, if worn properly, will protect me from evil. I hope so, because these days, we need all the protection we can get.
NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 3

So plugging that snapshot of La Zeta naked smoking has apparently driven my blog traffic through the roof--in fact, to heights I never thought my modest creation would ever reach. At first I thought the increased visitors were due to the blog's own merits--I thought perhaps some more famous blogger had discovered and linked to me--but then I noticed all the Google searches in my Sitemeter breakdown and realized the true reason. Not that I'm complaining. I'll take new readers any way I can, and hopefully keep some of them too. Just goes to show you that cigarettes ain't all bad.

Well, I made it through my mad week and on to La La Land, where I arrived a hair before midnight Thursday to visit my boy El Mar, whom I hadn't seen since he visited me here two months ago. We had the best time, even though, until Sunday, the weather was hardly representative of Southern California's famous sunny climate. But we persevered anyway, getting up at the crack of dawn Friday (after sleeping less than four hours) so that I could make my debut on talk radio as a guest on a morning drive-time show broadcast on the OutQ channel of the new Sirius satellite network, also available online. It went really well, and I look forward to more gigs in the future, possibly as a New York correspondent.

Later that day, after chilling and catching up on some sleep, we went to Santa Monica to have lunch with an old friend of mine from high school, whom I hadn't seen in almost five years, mostly because he basically disappeared as soon as he graduated from college. Then he was my rave buddy and drug guru; now he's a successful video game programmer with a chipped tooth who told me he made over $100,000 last year. I didn't protest when he offered to pick up the check.

That night we saw X2 with 9998 other people at this wonderful old-school, art-deco movie theater formerly owned by Fox in Westwood. I loved it, and the flick too. Then, while it poured out, we hit up the Pop Stars party at the West Hollywood club Ultra Suede with some of El Mar's friends (and some of their friends). It's basically like Pop Rocks here, but not nearly as cool (although Pop Rocks isn't all that either), yet El Mar paid no heed to my calls to go elsewhere as he was trying to, first, hook up with an HR employee at a new record label where he was trying to get a job and, second, hook up with an up-and-coming young agent at one of the top talent firms. (He's an actor, so sleeping around comes naturally to him.) He ended up going home with the latter, leaving me fairly drunk and alone. Somehow I managed to find the rental car (a convertible red Sebring, which I'd been upgraded to!) and drive back to his apartment a few blocks away.

The next morning we had brunch with the talk show host and an only-in-L.A. gaggle of his gay male friends (one of whom hugged me when we were introduced, then counseled me on the lessons of the Kabbalah) at a popular WeHo eat place. Then we hit up the main branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art downtown (I'd been to see a Takashi Murakami-curated show a few visits ago at the Pacific Design Center), where we sighted Lucy Liu (and her tall, white boyfriend, along with members of her family). Next I hit up the vintage shops of Melrose, scoring a Judds 1991 farewell concert tour t-shirt and a Michael Bolton "Time, Love, & Tenderness" one for five bucks each. And that night we checked out ex-New Yorker Mario Diaz's Hot Dog party at the Parlour, where I had one of the best times I've had out in quite some time. Although the boys weren't nearly as cool, or as cute, as the ones I've come to expect to see here, the vibe and music (electro-y but not too electro-y, with plenty of classics thrown in for good measure) were unmatched.

On my last day there, Sunday, the weather was absolutely gorgeous, so we mostly just drove around with the top down, zigzagging through the Hollywood Hills on Mulholland Drive, which I'd never been on, and going out to Malibu, where I hadn't been before either. I forgot to put sunscreen on, so my face got a little burned, but the ride--and scenery--was totally worth it. And on the way back to El Mar's apartment, we made the requisite stop at the Kabbalah Centre in Beverly Hills, the very one Madonna studies at. The whole place radiated "cult" to me, but that didn't stop me from purchasing a bottle of Kabbalah water (slogan: "cleansing the soul") as a souvenir, as well as a piece of red string that cost me 20 bucks and supposedly, if worn properly, will protect me from evil. I hope so, because these days, we need all the protection we can get.