Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Camp

Rehearsed over few nights to join this drag queen disco flash mob on Bondi Beach, which happened during one of my lifesaving patrols. I'm the too-tan one between queens below. The Xmas song is Kylie and Danni Minogue: "Whether the snow falls or / It’s 100 degrees / It’s still Christmas to me!”

Any tips for getting this song out of my head are welcomed. Huge thanks to the weather on Saturday, our organiser DJ Dan Murphy, choreographer David Olsen, and drag stars Minnie Cooper and Penny Tration. Merry Xmas from Australia!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Carol: Oscars everywhere!

I was so entranced by Carol, I left the cinema thinking I might be lesbian! (Shhh) Here's my review of the period (1952) drama, starring Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett, in this month's issue of DNA magazine. Click images to enlarge. 

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Bondi to Bronte

Well... it was meant to be the annual Bondi to Bronte ocean swim... but organizers determined Bronte surf was too gnarly (dumping waves onto shallow sand bar), but that's the challenge - Bronte surf is always gnarly. Anyway, they erred on the side of caution and altered the course into a giant 2km loop in Bondi. I wanted an ocean swim not a pool paddle!

Disappointed about the change of course or dismayed by the appearance of those in my age group!?

Below: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is in the red and black stripes at the far side. Yes that is the Prime Minister of Australia! There were a couple of policemen on hand, and media, but so casual. As if to underscore the lack of threat, his starting gun is a whistle.

Conditions were perfect, and I felt strong... kicked and whacked as good as I got this time!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Mugshot or Passport?

They don't let you smile for passport fotos in Australia. Messes with the nanny facial surveillance, apparently. You think I could have smiled with my eyes? My eyes look dead, or like if you walk past this photo, the eyes will follow you around. Like eyes in a painting hanging in a haunted house on Scooby Doo.

But I've got dual citizenship now and if you can't tell, which you can't, I am happy to be Americalian!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


The moment when the oldest kid (me!) at the Trampoline Park realizes he's blown out his crotch. Ahh... the drop-crotch pant. Not only age-inappropriate, but movement-restrictive!


Monday, November 16, 2015

On est Paris

WW1 was the last time they used horses in wartime and the first time they used poison gas. WW 2 gave us the advent of nuclear war. I'm not going to ignore the power vacuum created by war hawks and criminals like Bush and Cheney that allow for ISIS to exist, or the Western interference and imperialism that practically demand revenge plots, but today we have war without borders, a war against civilians and against civilisation fought by brainwashed demagogues of a bankrupt ideology.

"Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would shave good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."
– Nobel-winning physicist Steven Weinberg

Reflect on that for a second and it not only sheds light on radical Islam, but bring us to the Mormon Church. A church that purports to value the family has put out new rules that not only labels same-sex couples apostates, but says that their children cannot be baptised, be full members of the church or go on their mission... until they move away from home and disavow their parents. Watch the gay youth suicide rates rise. And loving parents be made to feel as if they are child abusers. As if children didn't have enough to resent their parents for -- now they can blame them for taking away heaven!

This reminds me of that tale in the old testament of that devout goober who god told to go sacrifice his only son to prove how much he loved him. Then when Abraham was ready to do it, to commit murder, to kill his only child, god says "just kidding -- just wanted to see how much you love me!" We would label this today psychopathy. This is not an all-powerful god who loves. This is not Jesus who hung out with the outsiders. This is a weak, needy, mentally ill, fucked up creator who needs to be shut away from human society. Similarly this Mormon cult, supposedly "pro-family", is now driving an evil wedge between loving parents and their children to further its own selfish, egocentric, inhumane and warped ends... it is a Sophie's choice that it is the opposite of love: it is destruction.

And it is also the root of the violence in that bastion of peace, prosperity and culture that is Paris.

"For good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Now I Come In Cotton!

The painting I posed for artist Paul Richmond's War Paint series has now been made into activewear! He even sent me a tank... I must say it's all very META to be wearing a tank with your image on it. I went out on the town in it the day it arrived...

These lovely lasses are pulling some focus, however, from the tank… even from my model friend Bryce. They are wearing nearly as much war paint as I am in the painting. Yes, these are two of Sydney's best-named drag queens: Tora Hymen and Penny Tration.

Below is the artist himself in his studio with painting and long-sleeves. Find it all and more at PaulRichmondSwag.com.

For more on the painting itself, including work-in-progress and details, visit his site here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Big O!

Out Magazine scores the most admired man in the world on the cover of this historic issue. President Barack Obama is "Ally of the Year" in its annual OUT 100 issue, becoming the first President to ever grace a GLBT publication. Huge congrats to the team at Out on this achievement.  
In an excerpt from the interview (linked above), Obama tells Out's Editor-in-Chief Aaron Hicklin:

"My sense is that a lot of parents across the country aren’t going to want to sit around the dinner table and try to justify to their kids why a gay teacher or a transgender best friend isn’t quite as equal as someone else. That’s also why it’s so important to end harmful practices like conversion therapy for young people and allow them to be who they are. The next generation is spurring change not just for future generations, but for my generation, too. As president, and as a dad, that makes me proud. It makes me hopeful."

Monday, November 09, 2015

Google Goes Gaga For Hedy

Hollywood icon Hedy Lamarr is honored on Google's home page with a google doodle.. and for a very good reason. She, and a composer friend, invented frequency hopping - intended to send radio messages and scramble the signals so they couldn't be intercepted. They gave their patent to the US Navy in 1942 and it has since been developed into bluetooth and... wifi.
In the eyes of the world, Hedy was foremost a legendary beauty, called the most beautiful woman in the world, but she had a brilliant mind and considered her looks a hindrance. She once famously said, "It's easy to look glamorous - all you have to do is stand still and look stupid."
She had one of the most storied lives imaginable - the first actress to appear nude (in 1933's Czech film, Ecstasy, which was banned nearly everywhere), she then married a Nazi arms dealer who was so controlling he not only tried to buy all the copies of Ecstasy, but Hedy was held prisoner in her own home. She escaped, in a maid's laundry basket (as I recall) and made her way to Hollywood where she signed with MGM and swiftly became one of the biggest draws of her day. Unfortunately, life didn't end well. She was picked up for shoplifting (accusations she refuted) twice as an old woman, and was only honored for her frequency hopping patent in 1997, saying "It's about time."
Hedy Lamarr died in 200, a recluse, alone in her Florida home, never seeing how her invention has changed the way we live. I'm so thrilled to see Google reviving interest in this pioneering woman.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Out the back of Bondi

Spent six winter weekends punching waves and yanking each other out of the ocean and now I'm officially crewing the rubber ducky at North Bondi beach. Since joining a couple years back, Surf lifesaving has transformed my experience of Australia.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

C U Next Tuesday

Allison Lane is unstoppable! Her YouTube Channel, See You Next Tuesday, is going off every week with something new and witty and wonderful.. and wrong! Her parodies have been picked up in a ton of outlets and her audience keeps growing. You may remember her from Going Down In La La Land, and she also has a part in the upcoming Kiss Me Kill Me. In the meantime, she is rocking her channel (subscribe in the link above). Here are a few of my favs.

Her rap tribute to supreme superhero Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The off color hilarity of "Hush, Hush, Ebony Secrets, starring Rachel Dolezal:

And I have a quick cameo in her update on the classic Blowing Boogie Bugle Man from Company G, which rallied the troops in time for Memorial Day. This is so creative and Allison plays distinctly all Andrews Sisters. The cheeky one on the right looks like she's ready for action! 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Gross Out Grows Up

This just totally made my day. Garbage Pail Kids -- WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

I love this concept of updating my favorite 80s card collectibles -- themslves a twisted take on those cloying, creepy adoptable Cabbage Patch Kids. Check out the creator's blog for behind-the-scenes of the sick and twisted nostalgia.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Call Me Unconvinced

Caitlyn Jenner's historic cover is a watershed moment in trans coverage and visibility. There is nothing more important in life than making others feel less alone. She has made countless marginalized others feel less alone and undoubtedly has and will save lives. For this she is a hero, but her personal integrity has yet to be confused with any altruism or activism for the greater good. 
Her conservative votes keep in power those who refuse to pass legislation protecting her most vulnerable sisters - those fired from jobs, homeless, enduring survival sex, without access to legal hormones; the ones injecting motor oils into their body who aren't white or privileged or assisted by Annie Leibovitz to achieve their ideal. She's a hero, and perhaps that is enough, but until she's a champion my admiration is qualified. 
Her son, Burt, sums it up for me: "I have high hopes that Caitlyn is a better person than Bruce."

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Royal National Park

All the campsites were full so a group of friends decided our weekend hike in the Royal National Park could be done in a day. We took a train at 6:15am to Otford and from there hiked ten hours to Bundeena through stunning unspoilt Australian bush and scenery.

unseen, but infested.
It was wet in the morning, which meant lots of leeches for the first hours along the trail. Everytime we looked down, another one of these tiny brown squiggles was trying to burrow through the mesh in our shoes. Freak out! They came from seemingly nowhere, and they were everywhere. If you saw this happen in a horror film, you wouldn't believe it. Eventually, the little suckers succeeded in leeching blood from each one of us except for me (clearly they are not into blood with high alcohol content). And when they were discovered attached to the skin when taking shoes off for an ocean swim, they were no longer little brown squiggles but bigger, bloated brown sacks of host blood. Smashed to death against rocks, they exploded in red!

It was a longer day than anticipated - especially after taking dubious shortcuts during low tide.
Lifesaving pal Nisha prepared the most amazing lunch and snacks for the boys. Note the napkin on her foot -- site of leech discovery. 
Below is wedding cake rock, a famous photo opp near Bundeena, and the end of the line after a most memorable 10 hours. From there we caught the old-time (1939) Bundeena ferry into Cronulla and straight to the pub!


Monday, March 30, 2015

Hoosier Hospitality

Indiana Governor Mike Pence last week signed the The Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. This law institutionalizes intolerance in Indiana – although it's the religious who are shouting about not being tolerated. The RFRA allows Indiana businesses to refuse service to certain individuals by citing their "deeply held religious views". Here is Mike Pence signing this bill into law, surrounded by nuns, Friar Tuck, butter churning prairie pastors and homophobes (one shown here equates gays with bestiality). Is this how you want your lawmakers to look like?
Indiana: A Theocracy in the heartland.
Say you want to patronize a business that purports to serve the public in Indiana. But the bigot owner of the business doesn't like that you are gay. Or Muslim. Or black. Or a divorced woman. Or they just don't like the look of you. They can now cite their beliefs and tell you that you are not welcome. Go find that other water fountain marked "sinner". This bill is nothing but updated (if you can call this regression an update) segregation.

And Pence is facing the justified wrath of not only equality-minded citizens, but major corporations including Apple, Salesforce, the NCAA, now even a boycott by the state of Connecticut. Nobody is telling the deeply religious that they can't practice their faith. Nobody is suggesting they cannot follow the dictates of their god, but here's a tip: if you want to serve only those who think, walk, talk and believe the same as you – do not purport to serve the public. Not that anyone would want to patronize a business that might turn them away because you don't share the same belief system, but how are we supposed to know before being turned away in hurt and humiliation?

I propose an amendment to Indiana's bill that states if you are not willing to serve everyone based on your deeply held bigotry, don't hide behind the newspeak of Religious Freedom Restoration. State it up front, outside for all the world to see, with a big fat sign on your business door: "No gays" "No Atheists" "No Mexicans" "Christians Only". Proclaim it loudly, boldly, for all the world to see just how loving you are. Segregation by any other name smells just as rotten.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Holding Out For A Hero

Hey you big hero, check out my latest essay in this month's Advocate.

(fab illo by Daniel Zalkus)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Queens Land

HIt up north for a quick getaway to that Great Barrier Reef, before it becomes an Exxon oil refinery. Still rather marvelously fishy, folks. Get at it while you can. NYC friends Wayne and Iqbal flew over the frozen Hudson to head with us up to Queensland for a few days of perfect summertime paradise.
Jump for my love!
The Real Housewives of Whitehaven Beach...
...or a chance to use my selfie stick.
Whitehaven Beach is advertised as the most gorgeous beach in Australia, but it was "stinger season", stingers being the teeny tiny but potentially deadly Irukandji jellyfish. Being so far from an airlift to the hospital (already it was a 1.5 hour catamaran ride from Hamilton Island to this remote stretch of sand) if we wanted to go in the water we had to wear these clunky stinger suits. 
A bit like the garden of Eden - all we wanted to do was eat that apple. So we did jump in this perfect water without the suit for a few moments at a time, and then scream bloody murder because who can resist that kind of hilarity? Almost as funny as my picture of this drunk guy Wayne's cartwheel. 
From Hamilton Island, which has its own airport and is just two hours from Sydney (and all owned by one person, apparently) we also took an excursion to REEF WORLD. Which sounded tragically touristic, but we went anyway - because now we can say we've been to REEF WORLD... which is this very large pontoon way out on the Great Barrier, Hardy Reef to be exact, a full day excursion that caters for the lowest common denominator, including the Chinese who can't swim.
Reef World
And for REEF WORLD visitors who can't or don't swim, Chinese or otherwise, there is a semi submersible and even a viewing area below deck… just look what they spotted.
"Look, it's a Merman!" "More like ETHEL MERMAN."

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The World's Last Pen Pals

In 1988, I wrote to the Australian consulate fishing for a pen pal. I was in love with marsupials, and I also hated my life and constantly thought of far-flung lands, far away from the war zone of Fowler Junior High. I received my very first letter from Merryn in March of that same year, and we wrote furiously back and forth across the Pacific, sometimes every single day. I couldn't wait to race home after school because opening the mailbox to find her letters was the highlight of my day. 

Reading about life on a 2,580-acre sheep farm in Armidale, NSW gave me a glimpse outside the hell I was living and allowed me to imagine I might one day escape. She wrote about riding horses past roos, gum trees and noisy galahs, and always how Presbyterian Ladies College was screwing her up. She'd nobly try to convince me that working at McDonalds was not uncool in Oz, or that I shouldn't commit suicide but wait and do it later because just think how much worse life will be at like age 24. We'd sign our letters "friends forever" and I'd receive awesome mix tapes with songs by stars no American had heard of: Johnny Diesel, Jason Donovan, Bros, Kylie Mole and Minogue…

My dad took me to meet her in 1990 and since then we've only met in person a handful of times, but in all these many years we have never stopped writing. It's several times a year now instead of several times each week, but opening the mailbox to see my name written in her messy scrawl is still the highlight of my day. And today she's 40. Happy Birthday, Merryn. You're the lady love of my life!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

El Culo Del Mundo Se Va Ensuciando... Vamos Tercermundistas!

Surprise, Argentina! A prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, is found dead alone in his home a day before he was to testify to a presidential cover-up of Iran's involvement in the bombing of the AMIA building, which killed 84 Jews in 1994. They want to call it a suicide.

For her part, President Cristina Kirchner now claims that his suspicious death surely was orchestrated by forces plotting against her government. I lived in Buenos Aires at the end of last century and then president Carlos Menem, a man so corrupt it cost him the life of his own son, was also implicated in covering up the bombing - he is of Syrian descent. Menem had also previously pardoned all those responsible for the murderous atrocities of Argentina's 1970s Dirty War, claiming the perpetrators had acted under "forced obedience". I always felt for the Argentines – so intelligent, so beautiful, and yet so impotent; blithely resigned to living under a patently corrupt system that will never see justice.

If you're curious for more about Argentina's dirty dealings ("a labyrinth that leads not to justice, but to new labyrinths") and the people's justified cynicism, this piece is excellent.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

War Paint!

This is very cool. I'm so honored that artist Paul Richmond has painted me for his series, War Paint. I can always count on Paul's talents to make me better looking than I am! This portrait is titled, His Darkness. Check it out on Paul's website here. "They understand too well the liberation into savagery that the concealing paint brought." – Lord of the Flies, William Golding.

These are the reference photos I sent him a few months ago, so you can see how he improved upon the original. I'm also totally digging the background fleur de lis pattern he created.

Here's more of Paul Richmond's statement on his series:

"Body painting serves a variety of purposes from spiritual cleansing to battle preparation. My War Paint series draws upon this symbolism to investigate the construction of identity. The modern masculine form becomes the canvas, a painted object of his own creation. Reality and abstraction compete with the figurative foundation of each piece to make the subjects' inner struggles more tangible. The application of pigment is suggestive of their psychological states, the color of their self-made armor exposing more than it conceals. This work also challenges conventions around masculinity and the male form. My goal is to invite understandings that reach beyond the immediate surface and reveal the complexity of the individual." 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Royal National Park

What's the best thing to do when a blizzard's not bearing down? Summer! Had a most magnificent weekend away with friends that first included a trip through the Royal National Park just south of Sydney. Inside is a beach, Watamola (I can only remember this Aboriginal word because it sounds like Guatemala with no G), that's on the ocean but has a lagoon on one side with cliff-jumping rocks!

 A little picnic so perfect...
 Even a kookaburra came by.
Lagoon swim with Sophia.
Rock jumping was filmed multiple times, but this slo-mo suicide is the only time Simon's finger wasn't covering the lens.. 

Next stop - outreach surf lifesaving patrol down on a little beach called Coalcliff... life is good.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fresh Fruits!

Arrrghhh, been a struggle to get into the new year. I might have overdone it at the totally amazing Tropical Fruits Festival up in rural Lismore, NSW, where Mardi Gras meets the State Fair! There were so many of our group camping together on the showgrounds it was almost a compound - with various glamping frills including luxurious blow up pools. 
It was a high concept party theme this year: Art Deco Dance. Jazz Age, but without the prohibition! Lots of Gatsby, flappers and after an agonising few months of deliberation, it was decided that we would go as an army of slutty Charlie Chaplins. Hats off to Denton for coming up with the costume. The worst part about it was having to be silent.
Me and Simon -
Okay, that didn't really happen.
Thanks for the selfie stick, Bam!
The Tramps!
All-night dancing, fireworks, costumes galore, queer cabaret, and ART...
A vintage lifesaver!

It's always a camp check-in with Steve and Jack.
Choreography! Presented by the radical faeries...
Innovative Art Deco statues...

Henry and Josh rented this amazing retro caravan, Lucille.
This thing showed up in our pool, thrashing, and nobody any paid attention!
DJ Kitty Glitter at the decks.
Happy New Year!