Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Out of Dodge!

Headed for the Wild West! It's been a couple years since I've been back home.

I have always loved the traveling. There's just something about packing up and moving around the world. What I have started to detest, in a way that has handicapped my desire to frequently travel, are the airports. Ok, maybe it's just JFK. The unbelievable slog to get there, and then the unbelievably inane, reactive (as opposed to proactive) "security" measures. Does my toothpaste look like a bomb to you?

Or maybe it's just me. Just hating-the-city time. It will be nice to hang out with the family in Oregon, and enjoy the great outdoors.
I can't wait to forget this crazy city, until I start to miss it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Why is she wise?

Actors! Ugh. They are soooo entertaining. I was up at the Actors' Fund, a great organization dedicated to helping actors transition into new careers, or at least manage the life of an actor with the bills of a new yorker. While there, I overheard some actors and their conversation was so typical of their non-stop pseudo-profundity, I had to start taking notes.

One actor to another, about a really old lady he had just met:

"So yeah, she asked what I did for work. I said, I'm an actor---so basically I tell lies for a living. And the old woman said, Then wouldn't you say that you actually tell truths for a living? Ha! Can you believe that? This old woman knew more about acting than most young people!"

Another actor was talking about some woman on TV named Wendy Williams:

"You don't know Wendy Williams?! She's not spiritual at all, but she is a spiritual being, you know? She is this gossip queen, but she's also really wise because she was a drug addict."

He pauses. "She's got really big boobs, too. "

Friday, July 24, 2009

Houston...we have a launch!

Whitney's back! On Tuesday she had her big listening party here in NYC and a friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, got to interview her. He said she wasn't very comfortable during the interviews, but after a while she warmed up. Whitney said she wanted to retire, but veteran producer Clive Davis wouldn't let her and she's glad to be back. So what about Bobby? Sobriety? What's whack?

Whitney wouldn't talk anything but music, said my guy, but she looked great. He also said she had a nice wig, an ugly dress, and that her teeth--those famous choppers--looked like they were "in their infancy". Caps?

And her legendary pipes? "A couple of the songs have an...island...sound to them," he says, "But it's classic Whitney." We will always love you!

I can't wait to support the album when "I look to you" drops on September 1st. There's no 1980's star that I loved more than Whitney. Through my worst years, I looked to her! No matter what happened in school, I could always come home, put that single cassette tape into my walkman and hear Whitney singing,"Didn't We Almost Have it All?" And somehow things were just better!



There's nobody I want more to catapult back into big success, and I'm not alone!

In one of the blogs I read about a recent appearance looking fantabulous---and in the comments section some queen wrote, "She looks so much better now that she's off of the crack!"

A couple comments later, another queen posts, quite aptly: "Who would have guessed, back in the 80's, that today we would be saying 'Whitney looks so much better now that she's off the crack!'??"

Bad Day!

I keep getting this annoying automated telephone call saying I have to call them back at this 1-877 number. Turns out it's a "collection agency" and they tell me that I owe all sorts of hundreds of dollars to AT&T from a phone that I supposedly set up in the year 2000.

The address they have for this telephone that I allegedly set up is an address I never lived at on Sunset Boulevard. Furthermore, for the entire year of 2000 I was floating down the Amazon. They're telling me that maybe someone stole my social security number (as if that's all you need to set up a phone line?) and when I tell them it's quite obviously fraud, they say I need to prove this.

I say they're a fraudulent debt buying operation ("American Agencies"), and the burden of proof is on them! Has anyone else been in this situation? Because right now I almost want them to serve me papers and take me to court so I can counter-sue for harassment.

UPDATE: I googled "American Agencies" and "Fraud" and a ton of stuff came up (thank you, reader) so I contacted one woman who sued them in 2003 and won and she posted my query, with her response on what to do up on a credit suit website. If any of these scams from debt buying collectors ever happens to you or someone you know, check it out. Thanks, Christine!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Behind-the-Scenes!

Let's begin with the many G-strings of Marcus Patrick! My film formerly known as "Bye Bye, Fruit Fly" has been re-named "Violet Tendencies"! Here's a whole ton of behind the scenes fun:

Marcus reading between takes. The book? "Reality and Subjectivity" No kidding!
He dropped it to give our reality a highly subjective pose.
Marcus Patrick as Zeus. Love this guy
That banana is all Marcus, I swear.
The rooftop scene below is the opening of the film and I'd tell you what's going on, but that's a spoiler! Seen: Sam Whitten, Marcus Patrick, Mindy Cohn, Margret Echeverria, photographer Jocelyn and party puerco Petey Pig getting his drink on.
Margret, preparing to crowd surf.
Partygoers!
Under the Empire State: DJ Lady Google & Company
Heeeere's Luke!
The crew in action
Jack Mackenroth, Hedda Lettuce, and Mike Diamond guest starring...
Sam Whitten as Riley
Looking good in the monitor
Guess which superhero?
At Vlada, Bam Bam plays bartender
Kim Allen as Salome
Walking home, Violet (far left) stumbles upon Salome (behind a dumpster)....looking fabulous!
Luke and Darian in bed
Village People cowboy and great guy Randy Jones joins Mindy Cohn and some of our cast
Luke getting frisky at the sex party
Casper Andreas directs the action in Vern's apartment
Adrian Armas as Darian
The Gang's All Here
Violet Tendencies is currently being edited. We hope to have a rough cut soon! Want to own a piece of it? We're still seeking the final few investors to join our team and help bring us through post-production. Check out the business plan/proposal on the right margin of this blog.

We're also looking for original music! If you're a musician and want your stuff considered for the soundtrack, get in touch. Our editor is currently playing original CDs to see what fits the mood of each scene.

Thanks for your support! Later on, I will be posting more professional pics from our still photographer, J. Cherrae!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thinking Big!

Made some amazing new people and had an incredible time out on Long Island this past weekend. My friends literally sold their Manhattan studio and were able to buy this sprawling gorgeous Spanish Revival home.


Bam Bam and I were in the pool (near where this pic was taken from) making guess measurements, when someone asked us what we were doing. "We've calculated that this half of the pool....is exactly the same size of our apartment in the city!"

Nothing like inspiration!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Is Gay the new Black?

They call it insulting to equate the civil rights movement with the gay rights movement. Perhaps because there is so much racial discrimination still today, and perhaps because instead of saying discrimination should be eradicated for all, many in the black movement would rather talk about who has suffered most.

There's an essay out by LZ Granderson that epitomizes this attitude that the blacks beat out gays because they've suffered more; nigger is always more offensive than faggot, and therefore gay is definitely not the new black. Pam's House Blend analyzes this piece, saying that essentially what he's saying is that if you are black and gay and have two people coming at you with a baseball bat and one's screaming "nigger!" and the other "faggot!" you would be...less afraid of the one yelling "faggot!" and thus she concludes that we should look not at who has suffered more, but instead focus on where the equality movements intersect.

Last week, I was working on the set of another Jennifer Aniston film (the Bounty) and she's looking out her window. She sees a gay couple kissing goodnight on the stoop of a building. It was me who was doing the kissing. But when I get to set with the other guy, there was also a straight couple shooting the exact same kiss. They actually shot two versions! One gay, one straight. They'll use only one version (and we can guess which one it will be)...but it was a bold effort for Columbia Pictures, right?

Now consider how ABC recently went to Out.com about puting on same-sex episodes of Dancing with the Stars! They set it all up with out gay stars, filmed it, but then the reality of that reality show was just too much to bear. ABC couldn't handle the scandal of two men foxtrotting, so they re-filmed it all with opposite-sex partners.

You can see the gay version online at OUT. And you can presumably see the "regular" version on ABC. It's reminiscent of how back in the Hollywood heydey, they used to film the same film with all-whites, and then separately with all-blacks.

So separate but not equal is still separate but not equal. And while gay may not be the new black, we should really stop competing in the oppression olympics and start focusing on the similarities in our shared struggles, not forgetting that many are both black and gay. For those who are, why should they want--or have to--choose between the two? Who then is our next Bayard Rustin?


Also at Out.com---my June/July column is now up online. Grandma Must Die!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wrap (pool) Party!

It's only taken me this long to post pics from the Bye Bye, Fruit Fly wrap party because it's taken me this long to recover!

We held it at Dr!p, the weekly wednesday pool party at the Grace Hotel. Hosted by Shequida and Lee Chappell, and an open bar sponsored by Bulldog Gin. Things started out elegant...

Our glamorous costume designers, Beth and Moni
With legendary promoter Lee Chappell
Alexis and Sam Whitten (who plays Riley in the film)
With Adrian Armas (who plays Darian) and Jimmy
The Fruit Fly cocktails quickly descended us all into a very wet debauchery. What a party! The only thing missing was our star, Mindy Cohn, who's already back in LA. Mindy, let's do this again in Laguna!
Cooldan, Lovari, and Lee
Ryan and "Z" (the amazing wife of our DP) get their groove on
Cooldan & Jesse
Great Gams! My friend Celine
Evan! Work the ladies!
Margret Echeverria makes love to the camera
Fierce heels required in the pool!
Even Petey Pig took a dip with me
Michael Musto arrives to add a dash of panache. I tried to tempt him into the pool, but Shequida hustled him around to the bar. And he doesn't even drink! The master wordsmith has a cameo in the film, and also gave Mindy Cohn and our film top-billing in his La Dolce Musto column this week in the Village Voice. An absolute must-read, and a great honor!
Our crew in the pool! Among others, I spy Charlie our grip, still photographer Jocelyn, production designer Lee Clayton, and Justin---who does everything--gazing at an amazing poolside performance by Ericka Toure Aviance.
Miss Aviance doing her thing! She sang her new hit "My Pumps" and yes, her pumps (and her shoulder pads) ended up in the pool when Ericka jumped in for a glorious splash-filled finish!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Will this put you to sleep?

I'm reading this book, "Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast" about the evolutionary origins of belief. I've been reading it for ages because each time I pick it up, it puts me to sleep.

Same with philosophy books. I find it fascinating and soporific all at the same time. A couple of pages into something like Schopenhauer, or the evolutionary origins of belief and it's lights out. This also happens to me at the opera. Not sure what that is.

This book is really interesting, and I got it at the suggestion of a reader when I wrote about wanting to know why people believe in things (like religion) without any proof. I have figured that human beings, even logical ones, are like any other species. Train them to sit or play dead or fetch at an early age, and they'll hang onto it forever. Does the same go for belief?

Last night I read how human beings, when making decisions, rarely test their beliefs on evidence that might show it to be wrong. It appears that we've evolved to seek confirmation of our beliefs, rather than trying to falsify them. Check this out:

In Peter Wason's classic experiment, subjects are asked which card to turn over to test the rule that if there is a vowel on one sside, there is an even number on the other. The four cards are Ace, King, 2, and 7. Most turn over the ace, just trying to confirm the rule. But then they can try one more card, and most turn over the 2 which tells us nothing; only 4 percent turn over the 7, which could falsify the rule. Negative evidence is too often neglected.

A simple example, but telling. Is that like an ego thing? I wonder what advantage, evolutionary-speaking, we have/had in not looking for counter-examples; usually attempting not to discredit, but to support our own thinking. I presume this tendency is one of the reasons we always think we're right, why I don't consider gay-conversion therapy, and why it's easier to see an image of the Virgin Mary in your toast than to discredit mythology we've been raised to believe.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Perfect NY Night

I spent last night with half of New York City. Clothed!

The NY Philharmonic played on the great lawn at Central Park on a beautiful summer night. I sat with a bunch of friends under a willow tree beside the turtle pond and drank wine, and ate and listened to Mozart. It was one of those nights where living in New York is worth it. Worth not having any space or privacy or a normal-sized sink.

Of course, it was only worth it once you found your people on the gigantic lawn. I heard one lady ask a very exasperated man with her, "Are you angry?" and he responds, "I'm fine. I'm just fine. I'm FINE." Hundreds of people were on cell phones trying to locate their friends in the crowd. A sampling of the overheard, from those who did have reception: "You said SouthEast, and I go Southeast and now you're telling me you're not sure if you're Southeast?" "I'm next to a group of really drunk people, I can't hear you." "Behind exactly which cluster of red balloons?"

And it all made me wonder, what did we do before cell phones?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

N.Dan's Near Death Experience

One day closer to oblivion. And someone is always beating us to it!

Neighbor Dan has been hibernating up in Michigan for years now. You may recall the blog posts I wrote relating the misadventures of the aged ladies from his nursing home. (To read about the fabulous Bag Balm Betty and the lot, click the "nursing home" label at the bottom of this post).

Most recently, Dan was hired to live with a woman whose kidneys were failing. Her name was Maho and he lived in her home at every her beck and call. There were a lot of becks and calls! And when she found out he didn't have a girlfriend, Maho said, "You're not one of those homosexuals, are you?"

To which he politely responded, no! Most likely while fielding text-messages from his boyfriend.

Maho was very demanding and when Dan began, her kidneys were definitely going to last longer than he would in her employ. But as Maho withered, she gradually grew on Dan. They bird-watched together, and she loved her gin so they did share something in common.

Dan served her gin from this giant dispenser she kept in her kitchen. Kind of makes you wonder why the kidneys went instead of the liver.
Hydration at the ready!

Dan came to love Maho and her gin dispenser, and her cat. He then discovered from her family that Maho's own brother was one of those homosexuals, and that he only came out of the closet in his suicide note.

Soon the pain became too much and Maho began to spiral. Her morphine was upped to 9 mg/hr and her breathing slowed to only 5 respirations per minute. When she gasped her last breathe, Dan was the only person with her. He says it was weird and humbling and fascinating to have connected with such a lady for her final weeks on earth.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

RIP Jesse Archer

Anita Private got a bee in her bonnet about my birthday. Since it's always around Pride, we never have a party...so this year, Anita decided to change all that. She said 35 was a big year and we absolutely had to celebrate. Ok!

But then I heard everyone was told to dress in black and come to mourn the "death of Jesse's youth"!! When I caught wind of the theme, I wore all the color I could muster into one shirt.

Becky baked a beautiful coffin cake!
But the religious iconography had to go.
Gideon and Nephi baked me a vodka-infused watermelon. Another excellent choice!
Not everyone paid attention to the dress code.
But most did...and some really went to town!
See what happens when your youth dies?
These two solemnly entered, whispering to Bam Bam, "We're so sorry for your loss."
Zeren and Lair!
Her grief was extraordinary. To go with her eyeshadow.
Chad & Scott
Casper & Ryan
Somehow I ended the night on Ed's roof. In pants that are no longer white!