Saturday, September 22, 2007


Yes, today if did something it has not done in Los Angeles for 160 days; it rained.

Rain here is an even that is only second to earthquakes in the amount of news coverage of them. More perhaps, because there are days of fretful forecasts: will it hit? Where? How much? Will this affect to burn areas? Will there be mudslides?

Angelenos famously do not know how to cope with the rain. I have had book signings where no-one showed up except the hapless author because of the rain. People will either drive like maniacs, as if cars were somehow water-solulble or they plod along, hyper vigilant that they might aquaplane.

In any case, it should make tomorrow one of those crystal-clear days that send people off to the lookout points on Mulholland where on one side you can see Palm Springs and the other Catalina. Hmmm, gives me an idea...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pansy Hits New York!

Will it hit back?

I will be (well, am kind of being forced to: I have reached the limit my employers allow me to accrue) taking some vacation time in the coming month and since Virgin America is offering rock-bottom fares (if you are willing as I am to fly at 7am) from LAX to JFK, I will be coming back to the city that I always feel is my home, New York. I did live there for a period in the early 80's, and those were my real formative years. I was on my own, barely formed, a product of good schools and good breeding from a nice college town in New England thinking I was going to the big city to become a... a what? I didn't know at the time (and barely do now), but I was determined to shake the Noho dust off me and become a New Yorker.

And I did.

New York at the time was a very different place: still reeling from the near-collapse socially and economically from the 70's, with a pre-Giuliani Times Square that still featured porn shows and third string movie theaters showing either grindhouse crap or movies who had been long out of the major theaters, with prints which crackled far more than the stale popcorn that was served. You would pay nothing to see "Footloose", but you might get rabies or Dutch Elm disease in the process.

I lived in a crummy 4th floor walk up in the East Village bordering Tompkins Square Park, which at the time you entered for two reasons only: to buy heroin or get killed. I had three room-mates, little electricity, a tub with no shower, and for one memorable February no heat or hot water. But when you are a kid in your twenties and you are gay and with thousands if not millions of others like you and the clubs stay open until dawn it's pretty much a paradise.

I was somewhat unlucky in my timing; the Studio 54 era which had so entranced me as a teen and inculcated the idea in my feverish little mind that I had to move there ("Tales of the City" had the same effect, but NYC was a cheap bus ticket and I knew people who lived there) was running down and a curious new disease was rearing it's ugly head: AIDS. Over the years I lived there, several dear friends succumbed.We were partying like it was 1999, but we were also haunted by this spectre: acquaintances would drop out of sight and you'd later hear that there was going to be a funeral. Horribly, no one really knew how it was spread. People who were diagnosed were treated in hospitals as delicately as Strontium-90; our president, that amiable oaf refused to refer to the disease and the pulpits heaved their usual bile about it being God's revenge for our sins (please call the number on your screen to donate, thanks). It was a bullet I dodged perhaps because I was never so desired that I actually had the chance to be slutty, or perhaps I just looked too much like jail-bait to get picked up. Or maybe, deep down I was just too much a prude to really want to.

In any case, after a while our landlord saw an opportunity to make another $1.50 per month on that dump and evicted us. At Christmas. I decided to decamp to Boston for a while and eventually wound up here in Los Angeles, which has new and different ways to grind your soul into pate.

Of course, I have returned to my old home several times: Times Square has been Disneyfied so much that it bares more resemblance to The Grove than it does to the gritty crossroads of yore. Tompkins Square Park has been redone with the gentrification of the neighborhood; the old Life Cafe is still there serving designer coffee and waters, and my crummy apartment is still above it, no doubt renting for far more than I could afford even with 3 room-mates in 2007. There is also nothing more magical than New York and it's environs in the fall: even the still warmth of Indian Summer will have an evening chill warning of the coming winter, and the smell of the dried leaves in Central Park is almost more than the smell of the hot dog vendors. I don't know if I will hit Indian Summer when I am there, but I am hoping. I am also hoping for maximum foliage as well...

As much as my time there was bittersweet, there is no place like it. I always get a thrill being there, even if I also give a hearty sigh of relief when I get off the plane and see the wacky pylons of the "Theme Building" at LAX.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I am a Gay Man and I don't care about fashion!

Did I shock you? Thought so. Oh, I think fashion is great, I just don't think about it that much for myself. I want to be clean, I want it to fit and I want to cover up everything that needs to be covered on a person (which, for the most part ie everything below the neck, thanks very much. What I do not care about is being told that the boot-cut jeans I got on sale are hopelessly unfashionable and that I cannot be seen anywhere about without skinny-leg ones. Or that the lapel on my jacket is 3/4 of an inch too wide, condemning me to wander the Earth, pitied but shunned. I don't care that green is over and orange is the new black.

Which brings me to Bravo's new series "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style"

Gaia had an interesting blog Sunday on the subject, in which she states:

the rest of the show was much more about emotional manipulation, both of the show's subject and of the viewers than about fashion, style or Tim Gunn.
Couldn't have said it better myself. I'll go even further: I like Tim Gunn. I don't like the show. It seems to be even more than emotional manipulation and cheap, staged "events" (how convenient is it that the make-over recipient just happened to have a camera crew with her when she received the phone call telling her she is the one being chosen!?!). Why is it that there's this weird veneer of "The Swan", perhaps one of the most repellent series ever aired? Why are they asking us to swallow the idea that there is something life-changing and important about this? Even more important is the question I want to ask all of these shows; how is the poor woman going to keep it up? Those $500 highlights? The $300 jeans? The $500 dresses? Did they ever think that perhaps most people lounge around in cheap clothing because they can't afford better? Salon recently wrote an article about the shrinking middle class on television. Even if some of these women are indeed train wrecks, would it kill them to take one of them to TJ Maxx and tell her what's flattering there?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I like Alton Brown. I find his show "Good Food" informative. I find him a bit didactic in his appearances on other shows, and downright bitchy on The Next Food Network Star.

Color me shallow, but I think he needs to (along with Tyler Florence) step away from the steam-table. Man Boobs are not a good fashion statement.

But I am not nice...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A dear friend of mine has this car. She has had it forever actually; her Dad bought it new way back in 1960: a beautiful 1060 Thunderbird Coupe in nearly flawless condition. She had it all during high school, it was her high school drive in fact (lucky girl). Her dad finally decided that he needed the garage space, and finally signed it over to her. Practicality reigned, and she decided that she should sell it rather than keep what is really an antique, and unlike a Chippendale Highboy one that's value could be significantly affected by a parking lot encounter with a pole. So we conspired to go pick it up.

Unfortunately, we did so on one of the hottest days of the year. Fortunately, her car has very good AC. Unfortunately, the T-Bird does not. We had previously conspired to force her husband to drive it back while we followed, chatting and sipping our ice-blendeds in air-conditioned comfort, while hubby sweated it out in the 'Bird.

Of course, the moment I laid eyes on it I knew I had to be the one to drive it back. 120 degrees or not, when am I going to get that experience again? So we climbed in and off we went. The trip wasn't so bad on the freeway, it was sort of like being in a dryer vet: hot, but there was a breeze. When we got off the freeway, however, it was just plain hot.

We did give my friend a giggle: she thought her husband and I looked like the worlds cutest gay couple on an outing. She proceeded apparently to call a few people to share that with them. While sipping her ice-blended in the AC.

They bought me a delicious lunch for driving it back.

As an aside, the difference between driving a car from nearly 50 years ago and one from today is amazing! Braking this boat meant planning far in advance: tugboats have a shorter stopping distance. Steering required constant corrections, and ergonimics? Fuggetaboutit. The vent controls were in a stylish binnacle under the dash, near the front bumper seemingly, and even the vent windows I dared not take my eyes off the road to try to operate for fear of veering off into another lane. Oh, and no safety belts either. Which meant that there was nothing between me and certain death by stylish chrome doohickies if I met something. But it certainly made me a far more careful driver than my car with crumple zones, ABS and 63 airbags. Maybe we need to revert to poorer handling cars. Maybe we'd drive better.

The image is from

Monday, September 03, 2007

Heat wave Part Deaux

or, why the Weather Channel is worthless

The Weather Channel in Los Angeles insists upon showing temeratures in Santa Monica. Santa Monica is a beach town about 15 miles West of Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills is 12 miles from Downtown Los Angeles, and there's about 25 more miles of Los Angeles further East, not to mention the entire San Fernando and San Gabriel valley, which are hotter.

Telling me that it's slighly under 80 at the beach makes me want to beat you with a ball-peen hammer.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

We're having a heat wave

I hate heat. I really hate heat with humidity. I hate how I get when it's too freaking hot out: I just want to bite people. I do (thanks to my good friend and fellow heat-o-phobe Sue) have an air-conditioner, but when your building has been marinating in 100 plus temps for the better part of the day, the only AC that's going to make a difference better be the size of a Camaro.

This weekend was freaking NASTY. I hid out as I could, went to the movies and wished that I had a big old Cadillac to drive around in, one of those ones with the automatic climate control that basically throws shaved ice at you.

I cannot wait for winter, failing that, to get back to work with it's arctic AC.