Wednesday, October 31, 2007
It should have been no surprise that the Gus Presents "Gladiator Orgy" at the former Sound Factory on 1st and Harrison, was not all that. Sure, a bit of fun, but not the pulchritudinous display I'd expected.
My friends, tired from the Gay Games gala last Saturday, didn't even want to go. I should have listened to them. But I was determined to get out on Saturday. I'd spent about five hours making a Satyr costume. That's not counting a few hours making or buying and adjusting theirs!
The parking was hell. The music was loud abrasive and not good. At least there was a table of fruit, with nearly naked models standing and, well, modeling.
Oh, and a certain promoting drag queen put only me on the guest list, so in addition to having to buy a ticket in advance for one friend, the other had to pay full price. And since we didn't walk the three blocks from the car in just our costumes, another 12 bucks for clothes check.
I remembered why it had been so long since I'd been to this club; it sucks!
Even worse was the Sunday "costume party" at The Mix. Yes, it was packed. No, no costumes. Okay, five, me and Stephen included. At least we got to hang out with Michael.
Then, after a stop by the Eagle (I chickened out and took off my costume), Stephen ruled in leather and tulle tutu.
The Sunday night Mask SF party was much better.
Sure, a smaller crowd, but we found parking across the street, our comps were ready at the ticket booth, and the crowd was a handsome ensemble of muscled, friendly guys in some of the best costumes I've seen in years.
Imagine if all the cutest guys at your gym moonlit as superheroes.
Nice music, a big dance floor, and great costumes. And we got home by 10pm.
Tonight, it's off to nearby Marlena's bar on Hayes St. for a Disney-themed drag show and party; well away from the scourge of the Castro lockdown.
UPDATE, Nov. 1: My "That '70s Satyr" costume won first prize! I got $100 cash! That paid for my costume, plus incidentals. Pics soon, hopefully (forgot to recharge my camera battery, so an acquaintance took some, and will hopefully send 'em.)
Sunday, October 28, 2007
So, obviously, I didn't get any good pictures, being a little busy at the time, but the Gay Games 25th Anniversary Legacy Dinner, held at UCSF's Mission Bay Conference Center, was absolutely wonderful. What a rush. I knew and admired so many people.
We got there a little late (due to a slight fashion emergency), but made it there as the reception was going full tilt. I didn't even have a moment to check out the silent auction items before Johnny Almony bestowed a gargantuan carnation lie upon me. Lots of hugs hello and congratulations, as I was one of four awardees at the silver anniversary of the Gay Games.
As a certain other Canadian GLBT sports event still lays mired in a nefarious bankruptcy fiasco, the real Gay Games and its stalwart organizers through the years celebrated two and a half decades of personal bests.
Sitting at my table of friends and mentors, with others nearby, we enjoyed our dinners amid the tasteful centerpieces. Speeches were made, a wonderful slide show of Gay Games images through the years kept us all smiling. Honorees included David Kopay, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation, and me.
Wait a minute. Did someone make a mistake? I guess not.
Before I knew it, former Olympic swimmer Bruce Hayes was making a witty, earnest presentation for my Media Award from the Federation, the first of its kind. Not only in appreciation of my ten years of writing Sports Complex, my Bay Area Reporter column (also syndicated from 2004-2006), the FGG also congratulated me on the Sporting Life exhibit.
I hadn't prepared a speech, and maybe that was okay. I think I said what I felt (although I forgot to mention Mike Salinas, who asked me to do the column 11 years ago), got to mention a few people who meant something, from Gene Dermody, my old pal, and the spirit behind the Golden Gate Wrestling Club, but the SF Track & Field Club, where Giampiero Mancinelli taught me how to throw a javelin.
Why did that mean so much? Because not only did I get to, as I said, "probably interview half the people in the room" over the years, but I also got to be a participant, and a medalist in wrestling and track and field.
I mentioned one guy, who served as my muse during the creation of the Sporting Life exhibit. So many times, a new bit of information turned up about him.
In 1982,as Cyndi Lauper once sang, "in the pages of a Blueboy Magazine," I saw an article about the Gay "Olympic" Games. Included in the article was a photo of a cute, short blond guy about to toss a javelin. Doug Kimball was just one of those handsome popular guys in San Francisco; everybody liked him. He competed in the decathlon at the first Games, held at Cox Stadium, at San Francisco State.
I remember, at that young age, seeing his picture, and wishing I could go to San Francisco and be a part of that.
It took twenty years. Doug died of AIDS in 1986. But I tried to keep his memory alive, with a few pictures of him incorporated into the exhibit, particularly a wonderful nude image of him balancing a basketball. Doug was just one of so many hundreds, thousands lost to AIDS, a man I wish I'd been able to meet.
Instead, at least I'm able to keep his memory alive. Doug was just a guy playing sports - and the French horn- but he was one of those heroes, making his mark at that first Gay Games.
Last summer, when I tossed the javelin at the SF Track & Field Club's first fully sanctioned meet, held at Cox Stadium, the same field where Doug, Tom Waddell, and dozens of others competed at the very first Gay Games (and where I got my MA diploma in Creative Writing at SFSU ten years ago, in full cap and gown), I won a silver medal. Maybe it was a bronze. I forget. I won three others. Sure, I was the lowest ranked in the entire competition, and only won because there were so few guys in my age group. But still, I felt close to Doug, and his memory.
UPDATE: Here's the BAR's new sports columnist, Roger Brigham, on the event (with a good pic of me, my lei, and Bruce Hayes), and FGG updates.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
The New York Times pontificates on the de-trendification of gayborhoods, in the context that Halloween in the Castro has been cancelled.
“The Castro, and to a lesser extent the West Village, was where you went to express yourself,” said Don F. Reuter, a New York author who is researching a book on the rise and fall of gay neighborhoods, or “gayborhoods.”
“Claiming physical territory was a powerful act,” Mr. Reuter said. “But the gay neighborhood is becoming a past-tense idea.”
There's nothing less amusing than being deconstructed by scholars hyping a book.
I'll post pics of Halloween and stuff on the Gay Games gala soon. I'm busy "reconstructing" myself.
Oh, and if you're gay and still thinking of voting for Barack Obama, you're an idiot. That is, unless you want to "pray the gay away."
If you're voting for Dennis Kucinich out of principle, you may not be crazy, but Dennis is outspoken enough to say he thinks Chimpoleon is.
Friday, October 26, 2007
This morning I spoke to the assembly of the Federation of Gay Games about the organization and impact of Sporting Life, the exhibit I curated in 2005 for the GLBT Historical Society.
I had about ten minutes to speak, then noticed stalwart FGG board member Gene Dermody doing the screen computer tech stuff, asked him to go online, since I'd forgotten to bring visuals, or ask if there was multimedia, and voila! the FGG got to see the Sporting Life trailer, and the photo gallery as I talked.
I hope they can find the time and people to make another exhibit someday.
There's also a new exhibit, Games That Change the World, focusing on the Gay Games at the Hormel Center in the SF Public Library. That's comprised of SFPL archival material. I think a multimedia touring exhibit would be cool.
So, on the way back, in my semi-dressy clothes, riding my bike, which had a stuck brake and a broken spoke, I stopped by Mike's Bikes and got it repaired - in an hour. Pretty amazing. New brakes and tune-up for $60, including SF Bike Coalition discount.
I usually go to Box Dog Bikes on 14th & Guererro, which is cheaper but a bit slower, but it was "do it now" time, and I was happy to splurge.
Part of the FGG's events this weekend include their big dinner gala ceremony Saturday, and whoopee, I'm getting an award! For the ten years of Sports Complex, but mostly for the exhibit. Former Olympic swimmer Bruce Hayes will introduce me. Whoo hoo!
So, I went and bought new shoes and a tie. I really needed new dress shoes (Shoe Pavillion, right across the street). The tie, not so much. But it was a Kenneth Cole for only $12! Splurge time again.
Back to work, finishing up calendar, emailing myself MapQuest plans for tomorrow, which is all over the Embarcadero. After the dinner, it's off with a few pals to the GusPresents "Gladiator Orgy" costume party. Let's hope our costumes' fabric glue doesn't melt from the heat of all the muscle Marys!
Oh, and in other news, Zach Puchtel, a former college basketball player, came out - as sort of bisexual. How nice for him!
Even though it's a big deal - only the 2nd major B-ball guy to come out - I'm glad I don't write sports any more, just because I'd be obligated to cover this guy's wishy-washy not exactly coming out. But he seems nice. Here's his blog.
Critical Mass today, 6pm; the Halloween edition.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Forecast: Heavy Weather
The weird weather does tend to concentrate the mind, though. Even George W. Bush acknowledges the scientific consensus that climate change is real. Most people, even conservatives, now have no problem taking the next step and acknowledging that human activity -- the burning of fossil fuels and the release of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere -- is causing climate change, or at least accelerating it.
Beyond those fundamentals, though, are a couple of even more inconvenient truths that few seem ready to come to terms with.
Geologists: Collier Glacier is shrinking
Between the North Sister and Middle Sister in Oregon's Cascade Range, Collier Glacier has advanced and receded for hundreds of thousands of years. But like many glaciers, it is headed in one direction these days: backward.
It is in serious peril, says geologist Ellen Morris Bishop of the Fossil-based Oregon Paleo Lands Institute. "We have basically a really sad picture of Collier Glacier today."
Climate change: Fossil record points to future mass extinctions
Global warming could cut a swathe through the planet's species over the coming centuries, warns a study released Wednesday that shows a link between rising temperatures and mass extinctions reaching back half a billion years.
White House edits CDC climate testimony
The White House severely edited congressional testimony given Tuesday by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the impact of climate change on health, removing specific scientific references to potential health risks, according to two sources familiar with the documents.
Wildfires: a billion dollar disaster
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
In a superfluous PR move, say some, billion-selling Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling revealed that the wizard character Dumbledore - who dies somewhere along her multiple book franchise - was gay.
I supppose this should be considered a nice move, you know, all those kiddies get to read about a gay character; or know they have read about one, before their parents think them too controversial (like far rightwingers who've banned them from their homes and libraries for being too witchy).
Partly, I say, "Whoop-de-doo."
Rowling, who ripped off the original idea for a kid's wizard school from a small press author years ago, who is suing an amusement park in India for making an imitation Hogwart's Castle, reveals that a character was gay; without writing much that shows that in the previous books.
There's nothing like backtracking to make your books more interesting. And there's nothing like using the gay angle to stir up PR, sweetie.
Try being gay, and having gay protagonists in all your books. Shocking PR move, I know!
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Just a reminder: I'm reading tonight at Books Inc.
2275 Market St. San Francisco. 7:30pm.
Be there, be square, er, wheeled.
UPDATE: Well, that was nice; about 10 people, some old pals included. Books Inc. peeps are kewl.
Total aside: Am I talkin' LOL Catese? Mebbe. After the reedin', got into a chat on the phone wif da bruthah bout LOL catz. Ya know dere makin a hole online bible LOL Catese version. Tis funnay!
Genesis 1: "Oh hai. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat waz invisible, An he maded the skiez An da Urf, but he no eated it."
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Under the sea, in Brazil, and in Indonesia, some entirely new species have been discovered. Frogs, leopards, fish and even a furry lobster have been given new categories by scientists. so, perhaps, for every dozen species that go extinct due to human encroachment, a new odd one is born.
Perhaps. I've been thinking about the unique aspects of my book, and why it befuddles many, why cyclists seem to be sniffing at it like some gay purple frog (the Atelopus frog was found in the Nassau Mountains in eastern Suriname. It was one of 24 new species of wildlife discovered by scientists in the remote plateaus north of Brazil.), and why after sending 15 review copies I haven't gotten one published review.
"PR, sweetie!" said a local accomplished publicist, when I was kvetching at the Litquake opening night reception at Herbst Theatre's Green Room. Well, yes, one needs a bit of hype, not that I ever expect to be as popular as authors, even gay ones, whose themes are so wide and unspecific, it's almost as if they were written by a focus group.
The reading last Saturday at one of the many Litquake "Lit Crawl" events - mine at Revolution Cafe - went well. The other authors did their thing amid the dim lighting, faulty microphone, and large crowd. The open air cafe was packed! I really should have brought my camera.
But the unique gay/bike messenger/activist/centaur themes in Cyclizen seem to have rung a bell at least for those who know a little about the topic. Unfortunately that's a small group.
Anyway, I'll be reading at Books Inc. tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 18, at 7:30pm. 2275 Market St. at Noe. It'll no doubt be another small group, but if they're interested, I'll be interesting.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
If you've read my third novel Cyclizen (and if not, why not?), or know about the tribe of people involved in ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) in the late 80s and early 90s, you know of a smaller group within that organization of AIDS activists called "The Swim Team."
They weren't swimmers, actually, but a group of tall hunky guys known more for their good looks and photogenic talents on posters and at demos. They were the guys who may have seemed a bit casual about the more serious aspects of ACT UP, but showed up at meetings and demos, not just because it was the right thing to do, but it was also the cool thing to do.
Some of them didn't get taken too seriously, even though they were serious. They were just so utterly handsome that everybody -even some of the lesbians- wanted to sleep with them. I always felt like a little satellite around them; dated a few, but never really fit in, since in between the dancing and performance art and working and riding my bike, I rarely had time to indulge in gym-going.
Part of what I explore in Cyclizen is the quest for connection with such men after the wave of activism died down. After I (and my narrator in Cyclizen) left New York, I often wondered what happened, got ongoing reports as people moved away, moved on, or told me who had died.
So, it was with a warm feeling of renewal that I recognized some similar characteristics in Eric Leven, a writer in New York mentioned by the wonderful Joe.My.God (who recently swag-Tuesday'ed my book). They read together at an event in NYC.
Eric Leven would have fit right in with the sincere, astute, sensitive and totally gorgeous hunktivists that made ACT UP so much fun. Yup, in the middle of a pandemic, we found love and warmth and brotherhood and romance.
Leven writes, reads, makes short films, and has organized and participated in a few protests, including one at Caliente Cab Co., a restaurant (which I never liked) that discriminated against a lesbian. That incident has resulted in a lawsuit. Leven blogs about public school's refusal to teach about safe sex, and coming out to his parents, topics that concerned a previous generation as well.
Anyway, Eric said I could post a few pics and link a video of him reading a short essay. Suffice it to say I find him utterly adorable, and am encouraged by his sincerity and spirit. I doubt I'm beary enough for his tastes, but I'd be happy to hoist a banner with him any time.
Governor Vetoes Bill Granting Same-Sex Couples the Ability to Marry
Governor Stands Alone in Preventing Equality Under the Law for Millions of Californians
SACRAMENTO - Same-sex couples in California continue to be denied the dignity, benefits and responsibilities of marriage with the governor's veto today of legislation that would have given all committed couples the option to marry. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday vetoed the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (AB 43), authored by Assemblymember Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and sponsored by Equality California.
Statement by EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors:
"Today, Gov. Schwarzenegger refused to lift the cloud of discrimination that hangs over millions of Californians and their families. With the people of California increasingly in support of marriage for same-sex couples and the Legislature once again affirming fairness and equality, the governor stands alone in perpetuating discrimination against same-sex couples. With the stroke of his pen, he has denied countless loving couples the joy and validation he and the First Lady experienced when they got married. Equality California will not rest until we have achieved full equality for the entire lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community."
Just a reminder: Schwarzenegger's dad was an Austrian officer in the Nazi Party.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
ENDArama continues unabated. Our allies are infighting, and the trans-inclusivity so taken for granted in our acronym world is suffering a lot of haggle and draggle.
Check late news articles with Barney Frank and Speaker Nancy Pelosi on www.ebar.com.
The LGBT Center just called for some bodies for a Friday noon protest, er, rally:
Press Conference and Rally
TOMORROW--Friday, October 12, 12pm
San Francisco City Hall
Dear Community Member,
Happy National Coming Out Day! It is appropriate that this year, we find ourselves coming out for equal rights for all members of our community. Tomorrow, a broad coalition of community leaders will be hosting a press conference and rally at City Hall. A united San Francisco will call on congress to move a gender identity-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act forward. We need YOU to be there.
Speaker Pelosi and our Democratic leadership have shown commitment to issues important to the LGBT community, such as passage of the recent hate crimes bill that included both gender identity and sexual orientation. We need them to show that same commitment to supporting a comprehensive ENDA. No one deserves to lose their job because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Now, she and other members of congress need to hear from you.
• Attend tomorrow’s press conference and rally.
• Contact your elected official today. We’ve made it easy for you. You can stop by the Center’s lobby today and tomorrow and visit our ENDA action spot. We have a phone ready for you to use and talking points to help you focus your message. Or call 202.224.3121 to speak to your representative in Washington.
• Volunteer to help us keep ENDA inclusive of gender identity.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I was going to do a post about a certain beautiful AIDS activist, whom I'll get to soon. But tonight I had a date with another beautiful AIDS activist; Annie Lennox.
Oh, yeah, she had a great concert at the Masonic Hall tonight. New songs, favorites like "Little Bird," bluesy piano redos of classics like "Here Comes the Rain," through the hour and a half of songs. I missed a few, like "Missionary Man" and "Into the West" from Lord of the Rings, but got chills from hearing "Cold" live.
But what really had an impact was the anthem "Sing," about women with HIV/AIDS in Africa. Yep, Ms. Lennox is using her new album, Songs of Mass Destruction, to take on global themes. That combination, with her haunting vocals, show her enduring maturity, and willingness to use her fame and talent for a cause.
Instead of the usual big finale, after the rousing closing songs, Lennox performed the "Sing" anthem (the studio version features dozens of famous women singers) as graphics of AIDS statistics were shown on a large screen. Where previously nice images from her long history of glamorous music videos amused, they really weren't necessary, as just watching Annie perform was enough.
But the impact of seeing an already captivated audience absorb the message she so sincerely wants to share ...well, it was quite something.
As she wrote in her blog of their opening tour concert last night in San Diego, "I love the feeling of collective involvement through the music. I saw an expression of total focus and entrancement on people's faces. That's what we aim to do. That's the emotional shift we're aiming to achieve. It was very warm..powerful..and I hope..inspiring."
I hope tonight's show inspired her, too. It did for us. (Special thanks to Johnny for inviting me, and zooming me there and back on his motorcycle!)
To find out more about the "Sing" project, visit www.annielennoxsing.com.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Well, that's not true, but it is fun when you're inside watching a silly old episode of Land of the Giants from Netflix, and you don't have to be out in it.
When I was a kid, I had dreams about capturing a little Gary Conway, or being shrunk down to his size and us making out in a Mason jar. Odd, right? Heck, the guy was a stud! And that so-so-tight red flight suit. Check out his muscles in I Was a Teenage Frankenstein and in Physique Pictorial, oh and later, Playgirl!
It's raining in San Francisco, which happens rarely this time of year. I stepped outside to open my compost bin so the rain could rinse it off. The rotting fruit, meat and veggy bits make for a horrid muck. But my downstairs neighbor stuffed it full of shrub clippings. He obsessively sweeps every night, as if the ten feet of sidewalk were Buckingham Palace. Oh, well.
Speaking of silly Brit muck, a U.K. safe sex organization has gotten under fire for their hilarious campaign using action figures. The sexual innuendo's a bit too much for some. you can make your own action figure (sort of; mine's still nekkid).
I think it's a hoot. But I always had a thing for tiny muscular men.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Some weekends, I just want to relax or get stuff done. Other weekends, there's just too much to do, like this weekend.
Last night's Puppet Love at CounterPulse written up by the SF Chronicle provided childlike fun and amusement, with my pal Seth Eisen's piece being a standout.
Tonight, it's off to the Herbst Theatre for the opening event of Litquake, an eight-day festival of author readngs and events. Armistead Maupin gets honored by actress Laura Linney, plus authors Amy Tan, Michelle Tea, and K.M. Soehnlein. Jon Ginoli of Pansy Division and cast members of Beach Blanket Babylon are set to perform. Look for my write-up in next week's BAR.
And next Saturday, Oct. 13, the closing night Lit Crawl barrage of readings going on at bookstores, bars, cafes and galleries all over town. I'll be reading at Revolution Cafe at 8pm with Thea Hillman, Nona Caspers, Elana Dykewomon, Ali Liebegott, Matt Bernstein Sycamore, and Kemble Scott (author of SoMa and main organizer of Litquake events). 8pm. Revolution Cafe, 3248 22nd St. I'll probably read the most graphic sex scene in Cyclizen, just to keep people's attention!
Then, it's either off to the Litquake closing party, or showing up late for the SF Fog Rugby football Club'sBalls Out Ball. See ruggers do the "full monty!" I'm not kidding.
Tomorrow, will it be the Castro Street Fair or the Burning Man Decompression Party, or both?
So much for a "relaxing" weekend. At least those darn Blue Angel planes have shut up for now.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
In wrestling, a reversal is a difficult move where, while under one's opponent, a grappler switched positions and shifts to the top position. you get a point for that.
Last summer in Chicago at Gay Games VI, and earlier in 2006 at Golden Gate Wrestling Club's annual tournament held each Memorial Day Weekend in San Francisco, I got a chance to not only talk with and interview transgender activist Donna Rose; I also sparred with her.
She is one tough woman.
When she was a man, Donna wrestled competitively in college. Unfortunately, she's had few opportunities to wrestle, what with there being so few women in her weight and age class. Even at the Gay Games, she had to spar only in exhibition matches. Nevertheless, her conviction inspired me.
So, it came as no surprise to hear that Rose, the only transgender board member of the Human Rights Campaign, quit her position after HRC balked in the fight over transgender inclusion in the much-debated Employment non-discrimination Act, or ENDA.
Even some liberal gay bloggers like John Aravosis questioned the nature of the T inclusion in the acronym GLBT. Are transgenders really a part of our community, he asked?
For HRC, they weren't. Rose quit, wrote a response, but then, after we'd posted late-breaking articles in the Bay Area Reporter's web site, HRC pulled a reversal, and decided to announce a "call to action" demanding that transgender people be included in the legislation.
This was not the original stance HRC and its Republican Executive director took. But they changed.
And so should the legislation. Even if transgenders make up a very small yet vocal part of our community -or population, as Larry Kramer prefers- as my coverage of the sports community show (less than .01 percent of participants in the last three Gay Games were transgender), we've still got to fight for the rights to prevent discrimination based on gender identity, perceived gender, or perceptions related to gender and sexual orientation.
See, I may not be able to fight for the rights of thousands of people, I might be able to fight for the rights of dozens of people, and I will definitely fight for the rights of one person.