Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Weak End

I went out last night and it was so blah I didn’t even feel it was necessary to write about. I had been thinking about going out for a few days but it never coalesced in my head into an actual adventure. I should have trusted my first instinct, although I almost never do. David and his massive arms were in town from Southern California, for his annual Eastward migration for the decadent Black Party. I thought Ben Harvey could use a night on the town and even Roommate has been working late and I knew he might be up for at least one drink before heading home. Plus, feeling so much pressure to have something to blog about, I almost felt it was a requirement to go out at least once this week.

We converged at Vlada but even before we got there, I knew it was falling apart. I haven’t been in much of a party mood for weeks and most days all the up energy I have just gets poured directly into the radio show. That doesn’t leave much for the swim back. It was a rough work week for Ben and Mike so the three of us were not great company for David, who arrived from his continental flight refreshed and ready for fun. Aside from coming up with a perfectly sensational new drag name: Ana Phylactic, the evening was mostly a bust. Later on the train knowing I wouldn’t be blogging about the evening anyway I skipped my usual people watching bit in favor of the latest gay movie A Four Letter Word on DVD.

It was required viewing for work since one of the stars Charlie David was set to do the show today. I think I met him at Las Vegas Pride in May 2006 when he was there to promote Dante’s Cove but I was so insanely sick, I hardly remember anything about that weekend except collapsing in my frightful 1980s dump of a hotel room that looked like a tag sale from the set of the Golden Girls, filled with the utter certainty that I was going to die. I had even planned to do the show from home today, but he was going to be in studio and there was a party after the premiere tonight that the director (Casper Andreas) as well as the other star (Jesse Archer) really wanted me to attend.

Doing a radio show every night until ten pm doesn’t make me much of scenester. Most of the hot events in town take place between 7pm and 9pm, like back to back episodes of 24. That is smack dab in the middle of my show. It helps to keep my anonymity intact, but it keeps my celebrity networking to a dull trickle. So when there is something happening that I can actually attend, I try my best to show up. Plus, Casper and Jesse are sweet guys who are trying to build film careers out of thin air and I respect their tenacity. The first film of theirs I saw, Slutty Summer, is no Citizen Kane, but there is a lot worse gay pap out there.

Charlie came on the show and he was pretty as ever. He really is a desperately attractive man, and very sweet in a way only Canadians can be. As he left to attend the premiere, I told him I would try to make the after party. After last night, I was reluctant to risk another night on the town, and really should have thrown in the towel and tried for amazing next week instead. But as it turned out, Roommate was already having dinner at HK and since the party was there, it seemed fateful after all. Once the show ended, I put some candy in my pocket to fuel my long walk down and made my way to HK.

I have only been to HK a couple of times. It is a sexy little lounge in an unsavory area. There is a cute 24 hour diner across the street and down a block, a homeless mission underneath a bridge. So if you want an evening that includes both tapioca pudding and tuberculosis with your cocktails, this is the bar for you. I think the last time I was there Aaron Tanner was promoting a club night and he was practically run dancing in place like Edina during her Absolutely Fabulous fashion show, virtually willing fun to course through the room like a bump of K entering the blood stream. Tonight it was packed as only an open bar until eleven can fill a place.

I ran into Fred Caruso, dear friend and producer who, like all producers, was brimming with enthusiasm and hope. It has been forever since I saw Fred and he is exactly the same. And like most of my closest friends, even after five years, he still doesn’t know the hours of my radio show. He invited me to a reading of his new show. “Is it on a weeknight?” I asked, knowing full well that it was. A Thursday at 6pm. “But you can make that right?” I folded my regrets into a small origami crane and gently set it adrift from my lips to his ear before making my way over to Roommate and friends who were huddled in a corner like they were trying to keep warm.

The usual gang was there: George, Mike, and even Jon. Jon was some pounds lighter since I last saw him, although when you don’t see someone for a long time it is hard to be timely with a flattering weight comment. They all looked happy enough, though a little disappointed that they didn’t know the mixed drinks were free until it was nearly over. I caught up with the old gang, which as always meant Jon and I shouted bon mots at each other while George and Mike scurried over to be in the calm eye of the hurricane with Roommate. Jon (28) said he felt sorry for the younger gays at the party. “What are they all? 24? So sad. They don’t even know what’s coming.” All they knew was the booze was free and they looked good in a bathing suit. What more do they need to know at 24?

Thinking about those poor 24 year olds, I frowned for a moment and then changed the subject. “Take a good look. The next time you see me, I wouldn’t be able to make those anymore. Frowns are a discontinued item.” When Jon pressed me for details about going under the knife he expressed concern about the difficulty of hiding scars on a man. “They can put a scar across my forehead for all I care. I don’t mind if I look like Frankenstein’s monster as long as I look like the monster at 22. I can always come up with an excuse for a scar. A terrible car accident. An old boyfriend who came at me with a knife and got me here, here, here and here” I said pointing to either side of my jaw line and the opposite sides of my hairline. Then pointing to the sides of my eyes, I added, “Next year he is going to get me here and then here. “

On my way out, I said good bye to Jesse. He was so happy, filled with admirers and riding high on the opening of another movie. Fame is a long staircase and sometimes the stretch between steps can seem impossible for even the longest stride you have in you. Reaching that next stair can feel like an amazing achievement, even if it is only one step. But it’s like the song says, “I’ll build a stairway to paradise, with a new step every day. And I’m gonna get there at any price. Stand aside I’m on my way.” I wish all my famous and nearly famous friends an easy next step. I wish I knew what my next step was going to be, and where my staircase might lead me. The strides feel long right now and I don’t know where my foot will land.

I thought about my plastic surgery jokes on my way to the train. It is, for the most part, just cocktail chatter. I don’t have any real interest in getting work done. But it is a nice fantasy. Play acting really. At Grand Central, the place was teeming with people and giant lights. They were filming. As we got close, I saw the back of the director’s chairs said “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” I was giddy with excitement. Roommate just smiled. “Finally your dream of discovering the dead body can come true.”

On our way to the train we spotted Robin Williams getting into make-up for his scene. I flashed back twenty years to the ballroom dancing there for The Fisher King. Robin looked older. He is going through a divorce. But then I look older too. Tim Curran was just going over the photos from our first day at OutQ in April 2003. “You haven’t changed a bit in five years” he insisted. But I have changed, and in ways that don’t always leave visible scars. Though there are still cuts here, here, here and here, some wounds deeper than others, some that may never heal. Something I wish I knew when I was 24. But I guess it is all part of that trip up the staircase. Sometimes the climb takes more out of you than you thought. And in the end, only you can decide for yourself if it was all worth it.


Davy said...

You really need to write a book. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

I love browsing your blog because you can always get us new and cool things, I feel that I ought to at least say a thank you for your hard work.

- Henry