In Reno, Nevada with Cooldan and Bam Bam -- readying to get off the grid at Burning Man!
Last night we were thrilled to catch the final performance of my friend Bob Barsanti's zippy production of "ZANNA, DON'T" in the backyard of a gay bar called the Patio. How much do you love that? We brought sleeping bags, and even the bedspread from our Super 8 motel...and still we froze. The desert of Reno is subbing for Alaska tundra at the moment.
The Patio bar not only puts on theatrical productions in their backyard, they've got video poker at the bar! And they sell t-shirts that read "I followed the 12 steps and they led me to the Patio Bar" - a memento I really want to purchase and mail to my sober friends, if I had any, attaching a "thinking of you" note.
Reno is, of course, the biggest little city in the world, and has some amazingly historic and memorable motel marquees. It also may be the biggest little emphysema capital of the world as I've seen at least three separate people carting around oxygen tanks. One old dude (sucking down a cocktail at the Patio Bar, mind you) was sticking the bifurcated tubes up into his nostrils when I asked "Are you getting high off of that?" Cooldan ran away from me in horror.
Zanna Don't (Xanadu?)--is billed as a "musical fairy tale" and despite having one of the worst titles in the history of musical theatre ("Love Never Dies" notwithstanding) is an incredibly entertaining and current musical (with a message) about an all gay world that suddenly has to deal with two characters who discover they are (gasp!) straight! The cast was game, the songs catchy; this show should be performed a lot more often!
For our own fairy tale, we're headed to the incredibly inspiring world of Burning Man's Black Rock City. For more, check out the video piece I did for OURsceneTV. I can't wait to get back for some more "radical self reliance", baby-wipe baths, and costumes galore. This year I'm going to rock the playa in my custom-made violet Hakama pants from Last Wear!
We are "Camp Freckle" and driving out tomorrow with friends Lee and Dzu in their pink and white bus called Bessie. It's a gifting culture out there (no money exchanged), so we are going to be giving out....freckles! Cooldan also created these postcards we'll be sharing:
The Ground Zero mosque: They all run screaming!! Frank Rich in his op/ed tells us what this furor is really about. Religious zealots, kind of like the gay marriage swiftboat back a couple years ago. The President even had to enter the fray, to talk about what America stands for and now - Look! - 1 in 5 of Americans now think Obama is a muslim! He's even had to defend himself. Obama is a Christian and prays every day. As if that should make us feel safer?
Personally, I think Obama's a deist at best -- but of course he has to pander to these pilgrims. Why do they care? Do you think the first responders at 9/11 asked their comrades, commanders, or the people they pulled from the burning towers, "which god do you pray to?
So they want to build a mosque - or a muslim cultural center - a couple blocks from where the towers were destroyed by rogue extremist muslims. Wouldn't it show the greatness of America, if we gave them our blessing? If we tried to promote understanding? Our constitution is not framed to allow for "sentimentality" to enter into property purchase, so what is all this nonsense?
Believe it or not---for all I make fun of "the religion of peace"-- not all Muslims are terrorists. I was in The Dalles, Oregon, last week and there was a little plaque on the side of a building commemorating a Japanese man and his family who owned a successful store -- but after Pearl Harbor he and his family were stripped of their business, their homes, their belongings, and shipped off to an internment camp. How quickly we forget. Not all Japanese are Kamikazes.
How quickly we forget the Native Americans (hunted down, obliterated, and maliciously betrayed - and they're the godless savages!) In a brilliant move of self-reflective irony, the Navajo nation in Arizona is today vowing to deport any non-native Americans from that state. They're only mirroring our mantra: What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine. I traveled South America for two years straight and can't tell you how often some stranger would extol the virtues of Jesus, when we all know that if it weren't for the Spanish conquistadores slaughtering their ancestors in the name of Christendom, these same indigenous would be extoling the virtues of that log they used to worship in lake Titicaca. Here's the real answer to religious belief: Whoever has the most gun powder wins.
We can't slam Islam without slamming all religions. Timothy McVeigh was a Christian, so I propose we not allow a Christian church to be built within 200 miles of a preschool or government building. The man with the most blood on his hands, that most adored and adorned holy drag queen the Pope refuses to condone the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. I propose we prohibit the building of Catholic church 200 miles from anywhere people might engage in sex.
Religion is an ideology and I fear it. I'm not referring to "spiritual" people or "truth seekers", but the rabid religious who justify genocide, terrorism, drink kool-aid, separate our species and quite literally, divide families. After I pressured him to give his opinion as to my equal rights, my very own brother was haughtily dismissive. He will not unequivocally stand beside me, his brother. Why? His religious "values". As if Jesus would give a shit.
To all those tea baggers -- As if Jesus would carry a gun and vote for Sarah Palin!
Everything I do - this blog, my writing, my films, etc, is to show people like me that they are not alone. Far too often I hear of some young gay or trans kid killing himself -- Marie Osmond's gay son, for example, who couldn't rationalize Mormon dogma with who he was - and it breaks my heart. I am then, as always, reminded I haven't done enough. I haven't been loud enough, none of us have. This is why I fiercely judge people who don't muster the courage to step up, speak out and REPRESENT.
So they want to build a mosque or a muslim community center two blocks from 9/11's Ground Zero. They have every constitutional right to do so. Allowing this to happen proves that American values, character, and freedoms have not lost to terrorism. By turning the other cheek, the human mammal may move one step closer to love.
A buddy in Dallas sent me this gem of a text: "I'm in Shreveport and the black girl helping me at Arbys is named Gumdrop. Her name was Gumdrop! That is just killing me, and you know it's on her birth certificate. Which gets me thinking -- what is wrong with white people that they can't stop naming their children the same old boring Matthew, Mark, Luke, John? All from the bible. Even my name, Jesse, is from the bible. Jesse was some old dude who's son became a king. No wonder my parents wanted me to have kids!
But seriously, blacks get so creative with the names and we may laugh at a Gumdrop (or when I was in Africa there were ladies named "Sweetness" and "Blessing" - but they're original! There is no stopping Gumdrop from sparkling through life in all sorts of sugar coated fun colors! No need to tone down her creative birthright, but what a struggle to try and sparkle with a name like Michael (Don't tell that to my boyfriend).
Back in high school, I threatened my parents that if I had a kid I'd name it "Celery". How I loved the flow of that word! Take out the context and celery is a damn beautiful word. Celery soothes you. like a rocking chair, or a sailboat rolling gently over a calm sea. I have enemy words, too. My least favorite being "moist", "pupa" and the truly vile, sick, abhorrent "ointment". Just say it: "ointment". Shivers!
But then there's a word that is just so full of arrogance and self-absorption, I seriously want to slap it: "Sumptuous". Don't you just want to kick some sumptuous ass?? I should have known I'd be a writer because I've always been obsessed with words, and Shakespeare, I'm sorry. I can't believe that a rose called ointment would smell as sweet!
Unlike Tianenmen Square, at least gay life is not totally censored in CHINA! Sadly, our investors and everyone else involved in the Oscar-heavy indie with the best title ever SLUTTY SUMMER - get zero royalties from the pirated copies currently for sale in the world's most populated country. Thanks to my friend Dan, who lives in Beijing, for uncovering this travesty!
But hey, squeezed between Jennifer Aniston and the Hot Tub Time Machine ain't bad.
Hiking the Indian Heaven wilderness on Mt. Adams, Washington with Bam and my cousin Karen. We're just under Hell Roar Canyon, and there's a lot of snow still on the mountain this year thanks to a freak snow storm this May.
Extra snow makes for extra water down below where we went white water rafting with my family, making for a memorably wet reunion!
Not so gracefully going over Husum Falls.
We were told if we fall out of the boat, the current would whisk us under for ten seconds to churn about in the middle of this glacial washing machine. If this happened we were to "go limp" and it will "flush you out". At Husum Falls there's a bridge where all manner of people watch you get flushed out of the falls. Rafting is a spectator sport!!
My uncle Pat (in foam, at right) flew out, but he refused to let go and go limp!
I wave to our fans on the bridge as my uncle fights for his life. Ha!
My latest project is now in development! "Half-Share" is a super-fun comedy web-series set in Fire Island. We've got name actors attached, and are currently seeking investors so we can pull the trigger!
Be a part of it! To find out how to own your share, check out the Half-Share website! There you'll find all you need to know about how to invest and what you will own; how you can advertise, co-branding opportunities and oh so much more! Investors are also entitled to a walk-on role.
If you're interested in becoming part of the filmmaking team, or helping out in other ways, please send us an email: email@example.com!
FIRE ISLAND 101:
Welcome to the wonderful world of Fire Island—the gay destination of lore and legend! It’s like Summer Camp...with better abs!
Fire Island is where the sun meets the sand—free of hesitation, oppression, or explanation! It’s the fantasy every gay man dreamed of as a child—The Island of Misfit Boys!
Check your inhibitions on the mainland and hop aboard the fairy ferry to a land where carefree men frolic as if the stuffy outside world didn’t exist. Stroll the exclusive boardwalks where the flip-flops are fierce and the only thing stronger than the golden Adonis-like men are the cocktails at Low Tea!
Take a peek into the lives of one summer house in Half-Share. Sometimes debaucherous, usually randy, and always outrageous... When you share a house on Fire Island with six gay men, anything can happen. And often does!
Back in the mid-90's I was friends with Roddy McDowall. We used to go to breakfasts, and he'd invite me to his salons with Bryan Singer, Helen Mirren, Taylor Hackford, the widow of Gene Kelly. We'd eat dinner and then watch movies in his private viewing room. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life to be watching this little boy on screen in "How Green Was My Valley" and then turn to my right and see the old man who was once that little boy.
His papers have just been made public up at Boston University. A writer called me up to talk about Roddy, because he's doing a piece for Vanity Fair on the man: "Hollywood's Best Friend" set to come out next February. Apparently, there were cards from me in Roddy's stash. Birthday cards, and a thank-you for dinner. Clearly, Roddy kept everything.
He was a child star (a moppet -- his license plate read: "ex-moppet") smitten with Hollywood from the very beginning. As a child, he collected autographs of silent film stars we've all long-since forgotten. He was best friends with Liz Taylor, had reputed dalliances with Montgomery Clift; he knew everyone and though he never came out publicly, I don't believe he'd ever say he wasn't out.
We talked about old Hollywood for hours and hours and he was always thrilled that I, being so young (at 21 -- an age he told me to remain as long as humanly possible) was interested in classic film and the old stars. Though he was sentimental to the core, Roddy had a way of blasting through my illusions.
On Cyd Charisse: If you met her you wouldn't know you'd met her. On Gene Kelly: Too competitive. You'd always want him to win the Volleyball match in his backyard. On Shelly Winters: Like talking to a vaccuum! On Gene Tierney: She got really fat at the end. On Vivien Leigh: That woman was mad as a march hare!
There's more, so much more, and one day I'll write a piece about him myself. Here we are circa 1996:
The truth about Hollywood and its stars is something I really can't get enough of. I recently finished a 1975 tell-all called "Gable & Lombard & Powell & Harlow" which basically tells about the terrific sluts known as Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, William Powell, and Jean Harlow! At one point, there's a photo of Eleanor Roosevelt and Jean Harlow. The caption beneath reads:
Harlow with Eleanor Roosevelt. Jean wore underwear for this event
I love this book! I'm sure Eleanor wouldn't have minded if Jean wore no underwear, since she was a big ol' cottage dwelling lesbian!! But that little climbing hooker Harlow married about 4-6 times (I can't remember) and it's hard for me to read knowing she was only 26 and just about to die. Harlow died at 26 because her gall bladder was exploding and her mother (a terrific slut in her own right) was a strict Christian Scientist who refused to let her see a doctor before it was too late. Please don't get me started (again) on the anti-human affair we call religion...
Gable, on the other hand, was such a climber he couldn't stop dating women 20 years old than himself. Until he got to the top, and then he couldn't keep his hands off of the young women. Of course this didn't stop him from having a love child with co-star Loretta Young (which I've written about here, but could only be hinted at and not disclosed in 1975 - Young was still alive) and when he wasn't up fishing in Oregon or being stingy with his money, he went about with women all over the place, even after he married Carole Lombard.
Lombard comes off the best of all of them. She had a mouth like a truck-driver and constantly played practical jokes with everyone. She knew about her husband's affairs, knew she couldn't stop them, and dealt with it. As the book notes, she was "a woman decades ahead of her time"!! She played her last practical joke just before her plane flew into a mountain and she died in a fiery crash. Carole Lombard died a hero, as she had been selling war bonds, at the beginning of World War 2. They say Clark Gable never got over her death. Maybe we know why:
It had been rumored Clark Gable was doing it with his 21 year old co-star Lana Turner. Just before she left on her fatal trip, Carole bought a department store mannequin, and tucked it into their bed. On it, she attached a note: Hi, I'm Lana Turner's stand-in. I'm just as good a lay, with none of the guilt.
I saw this incredible older doctor on the Upper East Side. He spoke "a few" languages (then listed off about 6). He saw on my passport that I was born in China (my parents were missionaries) and said that's about as bizarre as him. He's also white, and told me he was Belgian-Congolese. I'm like, When the hell did Belgium get out of Congo?
He says his family was chased out when the rebels took it over in 1960. Then he told me a story about a doctor in Congo who had treated all the locals. When the rebels took over, they let his family go but killed the doctor and ate his muscles for strength, and ate his brain for intelligence. Why save him so he can save you - when you can eat his brains and hope you will turn into him? Oh Africa, to this day still humming on seriously low frequencies.
His parents got the hell out! I said they were pretty courageous to be in the Congo in the first place, and he said they went because they fled Italy. During World War 2 not many countries allowed Jews to immigrate (the USA notoriously had teeny tiny quotas for jewish immigrants during this time) so his family was forced to choose between the Nazis or the Congo! What a story! I asked if he was still Jewish, and he said yes: "But I'm not religious".
Is Jewish a culture? Jews swear it is. Now if it's around September and you're hard at work and there's those fifteen Jewish holidays in a row, then honey even I'm Jewish. But to say you're Jewish when in fact you don't believe the religion? Even those who quit the Mormon church refer to themselves as "Jack Mormons". Is it like AA where you've been sober for 52 years but you're still an alcoholic?
I come from a perilously long line of Christians. Today I may put a tree up at Christmas and give out presents...but I would never say I'm a Christian. Why hang on to the name? Why not just wash your hands and emancipate? I struggle to find even one redeemable thing about religion.
Growing up, I went to Lutheran, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist churches and surely there's a difference but I can't tell you what that is; they pretty much all ask for money. And the righteousness! But there is something redeemable in religion. It breeds division, but it also breeds delusion and that's where the fun comes in: Such imagination!
I put a lot of creative thought into my screenplay Violet Tendencies, about a woman who hangs out with gay men. But I can't hold a candle to this post on CHRIST WIRE, to tell you what will happen to your daughter if she makes gay friends. Wowza! And what would you expect from someone who believes that Noah got every last breed of cockroach and Kangaroo on that ark? Or Jonah shimmied between baleen to live inside a whale!
The sad thing is that the men who wrote the bible took their highly developed imagination (as genius as the cave men who found lions and tigers and bears in the stars!) and used it as the cruel weapon of a jealous god who killed off all the other life on earth except what lived on the ark, who locked a man inside a whale (imagine the stench!) until he went and preached his praises. And the fag hag on Christwire? "Hope gives way to highballs" and she is ruined!
Ann Rice gave up Christianity last week "In the name of Christ". How will her creativity suffer, along with her ability to terrify her readership, if she no longer fears the gnashing of teeth? How many lives in the Congo would have been saved if a doctor weren't killed by superstition? Religion lives on and even when they don't believe, people still align themselves culturally with (ironically) anti-life belief.
Prop 8 was overturned this week, props to Judge Walker for doing what the majority of Californians could not -- which is wrap their heads around equal protection and the 14th Amendment. Moral objections cannot (indeed should not) infringe on the rights of others and yet they continue to do so.
The Hasidic Jewish community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn somehow has enough political power to remove the bicycle lanes that run through their neighborhood. Why? Because women were riding by scantily clad. Now women can still ride bikes through Anatevka scantily clad, but without a bike lane they're just more likely to die. Where is their equal protection?
Why do religious rights supercede individual rights in this country? These are not cultures I will claim.
I can't stop dying! That's all I do in my dreams these days. Die - in various, highly original, supremely phantasmagorical ways. The other night had to be the most dramatic ever. I found myself suffocating to death on a POM POM. What a way to go!
Someone said, "Do you sleep with decorative pillows on your bed?" I don't. Was it some sort of dormant fear of cheerleaders? Were they streamers? Because where have you seen PINK pom poms?
Everyone always wants to know, "How did they die?" and "Cancer" is just such a boring answer. One of my relatives died when a branch fell on her back in the 1800's, which I think is pretty fabulous. I'd like to go by Pom Pom, or eaten by that Great White they nickname "the Submarine" in South Africa.
Or, you know, just not cancer. I just found this photo on my friend's blog. Cooldan and I jumped into this pool during Bay Dance and got in HUGE trouble by the organizers. "What's wrong with your heads!? Don't you think before jumping? Didn't you see lights and cables underwater? They looked electrifying. Ra-Ra-Sis-Koom-Ba!