Saturday, June 21, 2008

Icon Nicht Anders

I really like Erik Rhodes. I think he is a decidedly misunderstood figure in the world of gay porn. To me, he has the most clear-eyed view of any performer I know. His blog is like Martin Luther posting his grievances on the door of the Catholic Church. Some people think it is all an act, which leaves me incredulous. It’s like the fag-haters who think people choose to be gay because they like being alienated from their families and fired for no reason.

He guest hosted on the show tonight while Romaine is in Denver, visiting her family and emceeing PrideFest. As usual he was filled with truly amazing stories from deep inside the porn world, starting with rimming a straight guy in Las Vegas on camera who thought cleaning his ass meant spritzing it with Polo Sport to closing out the show with a shocking revelation about accidentally shitting himself inside his apartment. His candor is at once alive and heartbreaking and altogether real. A refreshing change from the familiar false notes the gays are always trying to hit in their quest to be accepted and adored.

After the show, we went to Vinyl for dinner. I have been there a few times and mostly I like it because I am addicted to thai iced tea and it is virtually impossible to find. If they sold a mix at the supermarket, I would drink it by the gallon. Erik was starving, downing four energy drinks during the course of the show, and ready for a juicy steak. Like most gay places, the food is fine but the atmosphere and crowd is what you really come for. There was something weird stuck to my knife and I think our waiter was understudying in Avenue Q around the corner in between popping by our table, but you can pee to Viva Las Vegas in the Elvis-themed bathroom and frankly that always gets my juices flowing.

At dinner, I got a text message from the original Jonathan wondering what I was up to. As it turns out, he was in the restaurant, heard a laugh that sounded like mine (it was mine) and then started to wonder what I was doing tonight. He was dining with some skinny friend of his whose name I forgot the moment I heard it. No matter, he was struggling to the point of exhaustion to act nonchalant at the sight of Erik Rhodes. I almost offered him a chair and a cold compress. They ran off after I promised to call them later to join for a drink.

As anyone who reads his blog knows, Erik has had some relationship trouble of late. This has made me very sad because I knew and really liked his now ex-boyfriend. I thought those crazy kids made a fun couple, but then again, I didn’t have to live with them, so I have no idea what life at home was really like. Great couples are always a mystery to outsiders but lousy couples are easy to dissect. I don’t envy Erik out on the dating scene. His massive Godlike frame is intimidating, made even more hulking in the presence of the lithe gays who swirl their way through the Manhattan cocktail scene. Being a world famous porn star doesn't help either. And even though he hates going to gay bars and being with the gays even more than I do, I managed to coax him into joining me and Jonathan for one drink at Vlada.

The Bolsheviks were revolting in my favorite vodka haunt. For some reason, Erik insisted on walking in behind me, leaving me to shove and fight my way through the crowd. When you are out with Erik, honestly he should be the one bulldozing through the crowd. The gays are far more likely to move out of the way and cower in fear when he plows through. Instead, sharp elbows akimbo, I jabbed my way through the downstairs and then made my way up to the second floor. The stairs were a brief respite before we returned to the crowded fray by the upstairs bar.

Jonathan’s favorite bartender (aka the one who gives him free drinks) was working, much to his delight. He didn’t have the ingredients to make the drink I wanted but he made Jonathan happy so that is all that matters. Jonathan was feeling sensitive all night after he asked me at Vinyl if I liked the new thing he was doing with his hair and before I could stop myself and pretend for a moment I was a human being, I tossed out a terse no. He tugged at his hair self-consciously for the rest of the night and laboriously explained that it was in an awkward in between stage before it could finally become the tussled surfer mess he was going for. After my initial rudeness, I attentively engaged him in a much too lengthy conversation about his hair, hoping he would relax for five seconds and stop thinking about the top of his skull.

As promised, we finished our one drink and headed out of the bar. It was a nice cool summer night and Erik and I walked to Grand Central Station, where I boarded my usual drunk train home and he hailed a taxi back to his apartment. As I always do when I see him, I asked him what his post porn plans are. After all, he is the one who told me that no one should stay in porn too long because “once they have seen your pussy, what else do you have?” His post porn plans seem as limited as his dating prospects. He is so iconic in his porn life it is almost impossible to imagine him in any other context. I looked up at the Chrysler Building from 42nd Street and wondered what it must be like to be an icon. In some ways it must be great to be such a gorgeous shining individual, towering majestically over everyone, though it probably gets pretty lonely up there, shimmering in the night sky.


Sean said...

For a time, the Vinyl downtown (formerly known as something soon forgotten, formerly known as Diner 24) still served Disco Fries, but it has since quietly disappeared from their menu. Fortunately, a member of their wait staff clued me in to the one ingredient my attempts at recreation were lacking: truffle butter.

CW said...

Erik's blog is the best! He is totally politically incorrect. He calls out fags when they act like bitches and he has no problem criticizing the lifestyle and some of it's more absurd elements. He's one of the healthiest, normal, and I hesitate to say "straight-acting" gays in the community. He had a great relationship with Danny Dias and hopefully they will get back together again. It's all about integrity and honesty.

parker said...

I really do like Erik Rhodes' blog, but on the radio if he uttered one more Valley Girl "ucch" I would have to gag myself with a spoon (yes, that's what we used to say in the olden days, before Stanton and Derek were alive!).

I do like his honesty, but his "i've seen everything, done everything, you bore me" attitude makes me feel so uncomfortable...

Bob said...

Derek, would you please try to get Erik more gigs on OutQ? I think he would immensely benefit from a decent job and some support. I also like reading his blog, but my take is that he's in an awful personal cycle. He's gonna lose it one day soon, but he seems to be in much better spirits when on the air with you and has something productive to do with his time. -Robert in Chicago.

AimlessFuckup said...

what are you talking about? your the Crysler building to soo many gays out there! And Q for you. How do you get an intership on outQ? Or any sort of job? I'm a Canadian inching my way towards NYC.

outQ would be fabulous! Any openings? :l