Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Time Out

I'll be back next week. With any luck, my first post will be about President-elect Kerry.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


She was born during the war that was to end all wars. And depending on one's definition of war, she lived through at least five more of them. She had her first child while her husband was in World War II. Her second came along while they lived in occupied Germany. Her third not long before he went to Korea.

War changes men. It changed him. Though she was still devoted to him, the handsome young college boy with the broad grin was gone. What was left behind was a man who was angry, bitter and resentful.

But she endured.

She grew up in the Roaring Twenties, though the twenties didn't really roar in Oklahoma. She watched her baby brother die from an illness that could be treated with a shot today; she kept a picture of him in her room for her entire life and still got emotional when she talked about him. She made it through the Great Depression, though it changed her life forever. Like so many people of that generation, she couldn't bear to throw things out. Her house was always a hodgepodge of old things, broken things, things most people would think of as trash, but for which she could always find a use.

She lived through the deaths of her husband, parents, brother, sisters, most of the people she knew as family growing up. But she never had to endure the death of a child, something she hated to even imagine. She never feared death, and although she grieved for those she lost, she knew there was a purpose and that they had gone to a better place. In her mind, she knew what would come after death and had made her peace with it. She saw it as a time when all questions would be answered, all things would be known. For a woman with a voracious appetite for knowledge, it would be paradise.

She never made it through college; it wasn't expected. In her day, women went there to meet their future husbands. Once that was arranged, what need was there to continue? But she read. Oh, how she read. Philosophy, religion, poetry, all the things that interested her. When her husband failed at business, she went to work. Still expected to care for her family, she essentially had two jobs. When her husband drove their first child away, she was the one to suffer. But she was always able to find solace in her books and her writing.

She was a poet, but she didn't publish her work. Was she not encouraged by her parents, husband, others? Had she been rejected at some point? Or was she, like I, just so bound by the fear of having someone laugh at something that was part of her soul? I don't know, but I did understand. I still do.

I didn't know her in her prime; I wish I had. When I was little, she was the old lady with false teeth and witch's hair who brought me sourdough bread whenever she visited. She was the one who sent me $5 on my birthday and $10 at Christmas even when I was in my twenties. She was the storyteller who would tell me about her life and recite poetry to me. And in her infirmity, she was the woman who would ask me to come lie in bed with her to tell her about my life and to recite poetry to her.

She was my grandma and I'm going to miss her.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Chupacabras News

This absolutely made my day. It seems a couple of people threw custard pies at Ann Coulter. Republicans are up in arms about this because, of course, they see it as a conspiracy by Democrats to . . . well, they're not sure exactly, but it's a conspiracy.

I know the truth. It was a misguided attempt by PETA to get food to the emaciated Ms. Coulter, who is clearly being starved by her trainers.

I guess they forgot that chupacabras don't eat pies.

Thursday, October 21, 2004


I am having a . . . very . . . bad . . . day.

Most of it, I will not be blogging about because it's personal family shit.

This, however, was the cherry on the steaming pile that was my Thursday. In my everyday job, I work with crazy people. No, not attorneys, not the people who are at the ends of their ropes and really hoping that someone will help them, but genuine the-government-is-listening-to-my-thoughts-everyone-is-out-to-get-me-I'm-the-King-of-England-and-Elvis-is-my-cousin-bat-shit-crazy people.

I treat them politely. I try to figure out what their problems are (to the extent that they have actual problems that can be remedied) and refer them to the proper agencies. Above all, I try to treat them as I would want to be treated if I were having some sort of problem.

Today I received an e-mail from one of the women I tried to help last year. Strike that . . . I should have said I received a threatening, vulgarity-laced e-mail from one of them. I'm not going to go into details about her legal problem, but the fact that she was unable to get help from any of the legal service providers or law firms to which I referred her is apparently my fault. I'm sure it has nothing to do with her being obviously mentally disturbed.

This woman already managed to bluff her way past security at my building (hence our first meeting), so I'm a little concerned.

I wonder if Barnes & Noble is hiring.

Jeez, I need a drink.


And guys, if you exploit a girl, it will come back to get you. That's called 'karma.'
- Bill O'Reilly from "The O'Reilly Factor for Kids"

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Just so you know

Consider this your official "heads up" (so to speak):

On Sunday, November 14th, the day after Gotham's East Coast Rugby Invitational, Out of Bounds NYC will be holding its annual fundraiser, the OOB Wet Underwear Contest and Silent Auction. The event will be at Splash Bar, 50 W. 17th St., between 5th and 6th Avenues, from 1-5 p.m. A $10 donation will be accepted at the door.

This event will feature a raffle and silent auction including dinners, theater tickets, and items donated by the local GLBT sports teams. There will be drink specials, underwear models and, of course, the Wet Underwear Contest. The contest is open to everyone. The first 20 people to sign up will get new underwear donated by Universal Gear; the rest of you better wear something clean. The winner of the contest gets $500, second place gets $300, third gets $100. The winner is chosen by the audience; whoever gets the most applause wins.

We already have one Gotham rugger signed up (and hopefully more will), so I hope you'll come cheer on our guy(s).

Who knows? If we play our cards right and have enough guys at and in the contest, the ruggers can walk away with all the prizes.

Out of Bounds NYC is a group that serves as an umbrella organization for all the local GLBT sports and recreation clubs. They publicize the teams' events, throw recruiting parties and generally help them to grow. Gotham has been working with them since their formation and has benefited greatly from their assistance.

I hope to see all you NYC folks there.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


Any of you going to WYSIWYG tomorrow night?

Monday, October 18, 2004


One of today's headlines was Bush faults Kerry for using 'scare tactics'.

This from a man whose campaign seems to center around "If you vote for Kerry, terrorists will rip the unborn children from your womb and make them marry homosexuals."

In other news, Bush calls kettle black.


Good weekend, I guess. Quiet.

Saw the two plays, The Acharnians and Psycho Beach Party. Both of them very good, in completely different ways. I'll write about them later when I have the programs in front of me.

Rugby Saturday was okay. We didn't win, but at least we put some points on the board.

The changing seasons have left me a little uninspired. I'll write more this evening or tomorrow.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Freaks and Greeks

Tonight I'm off to another free theater event. I'm seeing Aristophanes' The Acharnians at Theater 3. I'm not always a huge Aristophanes fan; he used a lot of topical humor that doesn't translate well unless you have someone who's willing to adapt his plays, rather than just translate them.

It will be interesting to see what this production is like.

Sunday night, I'm straying from Greek theater and seeing a revival of Charles Busch's Psycho Beach Party. Can't freakin' wait.

Chi Nei Tsang

Every day I receive an e-mail newsletter called The Daily Om. Every morning I read it and have what I like to call my Zenchick Moment.

Today's newsletter was was about Chi Nei Tsang, a type of massage developed by Taoist monks. I was doing okay until I got to the part about it being Deep Organ Massage. But I had to quit reading when it talked about using the deep organ massage to open your 'wind gates'. It seems that opening your 'wind gates' will allow a fresh breeze to lift your spirits.

I don't know about the rest of you, but when my wind gates open, the breeze is most decidedly not fresh. And don't even get me started about using deep organs to open my wind gates.

If they keep writing stuff like this, I'll never become enlightened. But I will have a good chuckle.


Dick and Lynne Cheney are outraged! Outraged, I tell you!!

Why, when that nasty, nasty Sen. Kerry mentioned their daughter's homosexuality in a national forum, they were seething. How dare he use their family? How dare he make it personal? They voiced their opposition loudly and immediately.

So what was their reaction when Republican bat-shit-crazy carpetbagger Alan Keyes called their daughter a selfish hedonist?

Quoth the Cheneys: " "


What did Dick and Lynne have to say when 'Rev.' Falwell and his google-eyed lap dog Pat Robertson blamed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 on feminists, gays and lesbians?

Quoth the Cheneys: " "

When 'Rev.' Fred Phelps bravely takes on dead people and their grieving families by showing up with his hillbilly minions at their funerals and cursing them, what do Dick and Lynne say?

Quoth the Cheneys: " "

When Dick Santorum said that homosexuality was morally wrong, what was the Cheneys' response?

Quoth the Cheneys: " "

So I offer the following words of comfort and support to Dick and his lovely wife Lynne in this, their time of crisis:

" "

P.S. It seems Alan Keyes has a daughter who is a selfish hedonist. That's okay, Alan, the people of Maryland Illinois still support you as much as they ever did.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Flip Flop

October 13, 2004
Kerry: "Six months after he said Osama bin Laden must be caught dead or alive, this president was asked, 'Where's Osama bin Laden?' He said, 'I don't know. I don't really think about him very much. I'm not that concerned.' We need a president who stays deadly focused on the real war on terror."

Bush: "I don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. That's kind of one of those exaggerations."

March 13, 2002
Bush: "We haven't heard much from [bin Laden]. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run."

(Thanks Mark for posting this)

Also, did anyone notice that Bush's answer to the flu vaccine problem is to import more of the vaccine from Canada? This is the same country from which we're not supposed to import cheaper drugs because they might not be safe. Whatever.

Pain, Day Two

This morning was excruciating. The Tylenol has kicked in, so now I'm a little better.

I should have stayed home from work, but I'd have been in as much pain there as here, so might as well save the sick day. Especially since we'll probably all be sick with the flu in a month or two. Anyone else secretly worried that the flu vaccine "shortage" was actually engineered by a cabal of wealthy businessmen and politicians who are planning a pandemic which will wipe out a huge portion of the world's population, allowing them to assume world leadership? Or is that just me? I'm sure the recent recreation of the most deadly flu strain ever is just a coincidence.

Yes, I've read too many end of the world novels.

But that doesn't make me wrong.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Threw out my back.

Thought the pain would go away after going to the physical therapist.

It didn't; it worsened.

I will perform sexual favors for anyone willing to come over to my apartment with Percocet.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Weekend wrap up

Well, this weekend was less frenzied than they've been of late.

Saturday was our game against Lansdowne. While the final score (50-0) was disappointing, especially to some of our team members who expected us to win, it still is 30 some-odd points lower than our last loss to them. So even in defeat, we are getting better.

Once again, Jess came to the game and took pictures. You can see them here. They are pretty amazing. There is even one of me that he was able to take without cracking his lens.

The drink-up was subdued, which was fine by me. I was tired and not really in the mood for anything too raucous. I hung out with Jess and Marc most of the time. After the drink up, we went out to dinner with their friend Matt, who also attended the game, Stuff, MAK, PatCH, Michael and Wayne (not this Wayne, but another one). It was a great time. A chance to catch up with old friends, make new ones, be silly, have fun.

After dinner, we headed over to Barracuda, where we lasted like 30 minutes or so. I think everyone was really tired by that time.

It was a great day.

Sunday was interesting. First, I had my writing date with Frank. I was in a creative funk, so I couldn't focus on my writing. Instead, I started making lists of the things I needed to research in order to write this current play. Then I started to briefly sketch out the scene directly before and after the scene I wrote last week. One thing led to another and by the end of our session, I'd sketched out the entire play. Now all I have to do is write it. Still, it's really nice to be working off a blueprint of sorts from here. This will keep me focused.

After the writing session (and catch up session, since Frank and I always wind up talking and visiting while we write), I met up with my friend Will to work on a fundraiser that's coming up for the other not-for-profit I work with. We were planning an event, so consider this an early warning.

Save the date: Out of Bounds will be having a wet underwear contest fundraiser at SBNY on Sunday, Nov. 14, from 1-5 p.m. There will be a $10 cover charge. Anyone can enter the contest (every contestant gets a free pair of underwear from one of the local undergear stores). The grand prize is (probably) $500. Winner is chosen by audience applause. In addition, there will be raffles, underwear models and all sorts of other good things. It should be a lot of fun and it's for a good cause.

After Will and I worked on the plans for a while, we hooked up with Stuff and went to the Gay Erotic Expo (something I've always been curious about, but never got up the nerve to attend). It was interesting to say the least. First, I ran into several former rugby teammates, a blogger, my bodybuilding next-door neighbors (a guy and his girlfriend . . . the guy was wearing a posing strap and letting people take his photo), and a guy from my office (d'oh!). One of the more amusing moments was when we'd just entered Webster Hall. There was an amateur erotic art class sponsored by the Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation. One of the models, wearing nothing but a red jock, was the spitting image of one of my teammates. I said to Stuff and Will, 'Check it, that guy looks just like X.' I turned back around to see that Mr. Red Jock was trying to smile at us, discreetly since he wasn't supposed to move or alter his expression. Turns out Mr. Red Jock was indeed our teammate X. We chatted with him about it later. Some friends of his were participating and asked him to come along and model with them. Good times.

About the Expo. Pretty much what you would expect. Porn, leather, funny t-shirts, toys, 'working boys', Robin Byrd (who looks so much better in person), several Falcon 'actors', several Latino Fan Club 'actors', and lots of other things. There were also legit groups there (Leslie-Lohman, Gay Men's Chorus, several AIDS charities), but clearly that's not what this was about.

It was more of a goof than anything else, though there were some really intense people there. Ones who were way too serious as the watched the dancers onstage. Predatory. Creepy.

That's the bad part about events like this.

I got an autographed picture from one of the Falcon guys. His name was Maxx Diesel. Wow. That's all I can say. Wow. Tall (6'5"), shaved head, great body. Man. And he commented on my shirt (I was wearing one of my English rugby t-shirts). He actually knew about rugby and we chatted about it and soccer for a few minutes. Surprising.

Funny porn star aside. I've met a few of the Falcon models in the past. This is the first one I met who was taller than me. Most of them are a good five or six inches shorter. When I met Matthew Rush, I swear he was only as tall as my shoulder. And don't even get me started on Jeff Stryker. I think he's part Oompa Loompa.

Anyway, fun, odd, amusing time.

After the Expo, Will, Stuff and I went out for dinner at a great Thai place on Second Ave. Yum.

So that was the weekend. Now if only this day would end so I can go home. The office is empty. I took a few minutes to watch some of the parade; it was so lovely outside that I didn't want to come back.

Friday, October 08, 2004


A long post. Sorry.

So as I mentioned, last night I went to see the Friendly Fire Theatre's production of Hecuba by Euripides. As my dear friend Zenchick might say, "Oy."

Da Play
Hecuba tells the story of the Queen of Troy after the fall of the city. She and the other women are slaves. The Greeks want to head home, but the ghost of Achilles refuses to let them until the slave girl he chose to be his is put to death, providing him with a concubine in the afterlife (more or less). That slave girl is Polyxena, Hecuba's daughter. Much like Iphigenia, Polyxena's death will allow the Greeks to set sail.

Hecuba pleads for her daughter's life, but the daughter is killed. As a slave to the Greeks, she has to bear this horror.

Another part of the story is the death of Hecuba's son Polydorus. Her youngest son, he was sent to Thrace with a great deal of treasure in hopes that he would survive should Troy fall. Troy did, but the King of Thrace killed Polydorus, took the gold and threw the body into the sea where it was found (as luck would have it) by Hecuba's women. Despite her status of slave, she is allowed to take her revenge on the Thracian king, for he not only broke his vow of hospitality toward her son, but he desecrated the body and denied it proper burial (both of which are big things to the ancient Greeks).

The end of the play is a typical Euripidean blood fest where the women blind the Thracian king, Polymestor, and kill his sons. Not quite as gruesome as Pentheus' death in Bacchae, but along those lines.

Da Production
Minimal sets (black sheeting on the floor, a few flats and curtains to cover entrances and exits, partially translucent sheeting to give the impression of a tent). Fine, I'm cool with that. Theater isn't about spectacle, it's about the actors and the story (in my humble opinion). Okay lighting, though a little too much spillage into the audience for my tastes. Costumes, non-descript modern dress. Fine. Though putting the Greeks in modern American military uniforms was a little too on the nose. Come on, we can put two and two together without having it waved in our faces.

There were some really interesting theatrical moments. Polymestor's children, after being murdered, come out of the tent dragging long pieces of blood red fabric. The fabric is being held by Polymestor over his eyes. Using this simple prop, the director (Alex Lippard) was able to show the death of the sons, the blindness of Polymestor, and by having the children carrying the cloth that ends with him, connect their deaths to his actions. It was beautiful, simple and effective. And when the fabric was pulled away to reveal the actor's face, his eyes had been smudged with black makeup, reinforcing the idea of blindness, but allowing the actor to see as the scene progressed.

There was another moment when Polydorus appears as a ghost with another piece of fabric, this time white. By folding the fabric and handing it to one of the servants, he effectively transforms it from a piece of his costume or his prop, into his corpse which the servant then carries to Hecuba. Again, simple and effective.

That's why I was so disappointed by the way the director indicated that a person was dead; their costume had a big splotch of red paint (or something similar) on their abdomen. Okay, it made it obvious they were dead, but where was the art? Where was the symbolism? Why would someone who'd had their throat cut bleed from the belly? No answers, I'm afraid.

He did tie in the dead characters symbolically with the use of white. That was a stronger representation than the red splotch. Polydorus, who is only seen as a ghost, wears white. Polyxena wears white (both before and after her death, which I wouldn't have done). Once the children are killed, they go from wearing suits to wearing white undershirts and boxers. That worked for me. The splotches of blood didn't.

My major problem with the production, however, was unfortunately central to the director's vision (or so it would seem); the stylized use of voice. Hecuba was played by Kristin Linklater, an actress well-known and well-regarded for her work with theater voice and speech training. This woman can do things with her voice that are amazing.

And she did. Screams. Hisses. High, flute-like notes followed by deep, raspy ones. Monologues that started low and soared, only to return. Quiet sentences full of venom. Rages that shook the walls. It was technically brilliant.

But what happens when you spend an entire play completely aware of an actor's technique? You don't get absorbed into the action.

There were times when it faded into the proper dimensions. The technique was still there. The vocal 'tricks,' for want of a better word, were still there, but they were balanced with powerful acting and movement so that Hecuba became more than the sum of her parts. In those moments, the play was wonderful. But they were few.

Other things grated a little as well. The blocking seemed awkward. When the actors were still, the stage pictures they created lacked balance and focus. The Greek soldiers, during the painful times they made appearances, seemed not to know why they were onstage or what they should be doing; marking time until their next piece of business.

In direct opposition to the Greek soldiers were the chorus of Trojan women. Sure, some of their stage business seemed forced, but their their keening, crying, singing, etc., was subtle enough not to be overpowering. Their movements (when they were to be the focus of the action) were sinuous and strong. They looked a little lost when they were mere observers to the action, but I'll assume that they were merely trying to act like shocked captives.

All in all, I wish this had been a better production. It really should have been. So many of the elements were there, but they just never really meshed.

Da Epilogue
One final note to the cunt and her arselicking boyfriend who were sitting next to me. I don't care if you don't like the production or the acting or whatever. You do not sit on the front row of a black box theater, in full view of the actors, and read a fucking magazine. You do not giggle and chat while the performance is going. If you dislike it, sit there and deal until you can get up and discretely leave.

Regardless of what you think of the production, those actors are working their asses off and deserve our respect and attention while they do it.

People like those two shouldn't be allowed out in public.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Oops, I did it again

Not exactly sure how, but I seem to be flat broke again. Overdrawn, actually. Damn.

What better way to celebrate being busted than running out and buying three brand spanking new, signed first edition books?

Really, it's a sickness.

Tonight I'm going to see a production of Hecuba by Euripides at The Culture Project @ 45Bleecker. Same theater that's been hosting the Red Bull Theater productions.

If you've been unable to tell based on my recent entries, I am a big fan of classical theater.

Fortunately for me, tonight's show is free.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Great Weekend

This was an amazing weekend. First and foremost because our rugby club had its first Met NY Union win. We beat Suffolk RFC (the Bull Moose) 15-6. It was a great game played against strong opponents.

Even if we had lost, however, this would have been the best match of the season anyway. The Bull Moose are probably the coolest, most fun team in the Union. Partying with those guys always rocks. Lots of drinking, lots of singing, a smattering of nudity (never gratuitous, of course) and they generally seem not to give a fuck that we are a primarily gay team. Their girlfriends/wives are friendly (and even we can appreciate that they're hot). Some of their women's side hung out with us, too. If you've never partied with women ruggers, you've never partied.

The thing I like about partying with the Bull Moose is that they genuinely don't seem to want the party to end. Some clubs we play against are polite at the drink ups, but that's about it. They don't seem to mind when we leave (and they certainly don't stick around long when we're hosting, especially if the beer runs out). Suffolk parties long and hard. And again, they are fun motherfuckers. You can't not have a good time with them.

(Okay, in the name of full disclosure, a couple of their guys are dicks . . . but then so are a couple of our guys, so it all evens out)

The bus ride back to the city was a drunken free for all. Nudity? Check. 12 Cases of beer? Check. A couple of young ruggers who couldn't handle their liquor and wore their vomit-speckled t-shirts like a badge of honor? Check. An extremely obnoxious drunk who will remain nameless because he reads my blog, but he knows who he is? Check. (By the way, Stinkfinger, even though you were an obnoxious drunk, it was nice to see you so happy again. You should be that balls to the wall cheerful all the time.) All in all, a fun, though loud, trip back.

There was an after-after-party, but I'm old and curmudgeonly, so I skipped it. Plus, I had a writing date on Sunday and was afraid to sleep through it.

Another great thing about the game was that Jess and Marc showed up. I think they are the first of my blog friends (and only the second of my friends over all) to come to one of our games. They were a great addition to the sidelines.

Jess is a photography buff and took some photos of the team. He has a background in sports photography from college which is pretty obvious from his pictures. There are some really good action shots.

So that was my long and tiring Saturday.

Sunday was another great day. I got my laundry done very early (earlier in fact than I normally wake up on most Sundays). Yes, I know it's pretty pathetic to take such happiness from getting laundry done, but I have to take what I can get.

I hooked up with Frank in the afternoon for our Sunday writing date. I'll tell you, that is beginning to pay off. I'm not sure how much he got done (I think he said a couple of pages), but I completed the first scene of a new play. And the funny thing is, it turned out okay. Rough. Needs some polish, but I could see it in my head with no difficulty. That for me is the sign that I'm on the right track.

After our writing date, I went to visit Stuff. He's going out of town for a week (Alaska), so even though we only got to hang out for an hour or so, it was worth the trip up to his place (which was a bitch since the uptown 6 wasn't running . . . fucking MTA). Sometimes it's important to see your friends, even if you aren't going to be able to spend much time with them. I don't know, e-mail and stuff like that is fine, but it's important to see people in the flesh. It restores a sense of immediacy to the friendship. Does that make any sense?

We haven't been able to spend much time together since he got back from China; we've both been pretty busy. But on the up side, he'll be back this weekend and is going to try to come to Saturday's game.

After hanging out with Stuff, I went to the Red Bull Theater for the next play in it's Revelation Readings series. Last week it was 'The Knight of the Burning Pestle' by Beaumont and Fletcher. This week was 'Women Beware Women' by Thomas Middleton.

These readings are amazing. First, the actors are great. I'd love to know how much rehearsal goes into these productions. I would bet that there is not a lot, which makes their performences that much more impressive. I'd also love to talk to the director. This idea of doing readings of quality, though somewhat forgotten, plays for free is amazing. I wish more small theaters would do that. But maybe that's because I'm cheap.

Now, it's work time. I think I may go to Splash again tonight for the Musical Monday thingy. Then again, I might go to the gym (Painbringer, PT has started racheting up the workouts, so I need to get back in shape so I don't have a stroke one of these sessions). I also feel like working on my play a little more.

So many choices.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Pity, party of one . . . your table is now ready


Whiny, self-indulgent post. Sorry about that. I'll try not to let that happen again.