Friday, January 15, 2010

Puff Piece: Ben and Dave

So, I had this idea last night while I was not drunk out at GUMBO. I was talking to party host Ben Harvey and his radio husband Dave Rubin about how much I loved the photo of them passed out on a bed surrounded by food. Then, completely in character, I offered up a narcissistic idea disguised as an altruistic one.

"I want to do a book of my favorite photos of my favorite people. Not photos I took. Just photos I like. And I will call it 'Puff Piece.'"
Please note: My favorite. My favorite. I like. I will call it. I. I. I. But with some you in it.

I am not sold on the title, but I am sold on the idea because I really know how to put the "I" in idea. But a book seems ambitious and "I" am lazy. Plus there are all sorts of rights and clearances issues. It just makes me want to put my head down. So instead, I will just repost them on my blog and tell you why I love the photo and the people in it.

Ben and Dave are two of the sweetest people I know, and this is a genuinely sweet photo. It reminds me of the current "Sweet Million" ad campaign for the lottery here in NY, with the little baby animals sleeping in adorable settings. As you can see, I don't mind an ad campaigns with tiny animals that miraculously allow you to say "awww" while simultaneously throwing up in the back of your mouth. I also don't mind a staged photo. In fact, I prefer it. Unless it is news, the only thing a true action shot can capture about a person is a bad angle and a double chin. This photo has good composition, a clever story (love the mini bottle of Pepto!), and two hot shirtless men that I love. And what is sweeter than that?

Miss Congeniality

I miss so many things. Since starting this draconian diet at the beginning of the year, I miss eating crappy food. Carrots and celery will only get you so far in life when what you really want is a large order of fries. I keep telling myself that phantom abs from the future will continue to propel me past McDonald's but I don't know what is less realistic: me with abs or me not eating fast food. I guess only time will tell.

Food is on my mind, not only because I am hungry, but also because I went to GUMBO tonight. No, not that delicious Cajun treat. The monthly gay party in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn. Perhaps going to a party named after food while you are dieting is not the best idea anyone ever had. Chris and Cub had made a similar pact so there was some commiserating in the lobby of the Galapagos Art Space when I arrived. Chris brought me a water, which made me want to cry. The very definition of garbage in, garbage out. Cub appreciated my spirit as he limited himself to ginger ale, swearing off alcohol for the night due to a dental appointment in the morning.

I also miss seeing Matty more. He was there, taking a quick breather between marathons. No joke. I was hoping he would be excited to see that I was wearing a Polo sweater I bought on this fall in my desperate bid to upgrade my image along with my body. For some reason though the John Varvatos button-down I paired it with was gathering funny around the banded waist of the sweater, making me look not dissimilar to a aquamarine-colored gourd, if such a thing exists. Fashion fail, as the kids would say. No wonder Matty insisted that Andrew take a picture of us.

In his defense, it was moments after this classic Derek exchange:

Andrew: "We are going to Houston to run a half marathon. "

Derek: "If I were in Houston, I would be running too. "

Matty: "Andrew is from Houston. "

And... this is why I have no friends. Speaking of friends, did you know I was the first gay man in NYC on Friendster? I miss Friendster too. Not in the same way that I joke constantly now about adding people to my web ring. Friendster was not only a great early adventure in social networking that died too soon. It was also the easiest way on earth to gather intel on that hot guy you saw at a party once. Facebook for all of its applications and like buttons and event invitations and passive aggressive unfriending is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in comparison. But after my trip to GUMBO tonight, I spent the better part of an hour trying to find the guy I talked to on Facebook to no avail. This wouldn't have happened to me on Friendster.

As I finally made my way through the party I ran again into Chris, who was by then talking to Tim. Yes, I am sure it was Tim and not Sam, which is what I thought I heard in the din and my deafness. Chris walked away and then Tim and I plunged down the rabbit hole in an insanely nerdy conversation about how TV works and why ABC hasn’t really yet pulled it together. You don't know the joy I have in talking to someone in the entertainment industry who doesn't take my breath away with their mind-numbing idiocy. Tim actually knew what he was talking about! Plus, he told me he was thirty and then kept insisting that he had to explain things to me that happened in the 70s because I was probably younger than he was.

I wanted to keep talking with him but then Ben Harvey came by and wanted me to meet some other people and I whisked away. I didn’t mean to brush him off since I genuinely liked talking to him and wanted to talk more. Who am I kidding? I am pretty sure I wanted to marry him, but naturally I came off as the hateful rube I am and he disappeared into the ether. If this was 2004, I would have not only found him on Friendster already, but I would have secretly made him a bookmark like I did to Cub so many years ago.

So I miss Friendster and fried food and dressing like a homeless person. Finally, on my way out, I gave in. Even though Greg told me that no one is walking around untucked anymore, I pulled my shirt tails out of my pants, threw on my coat and headed out into the chilly night. I think it looks better. But what do I know? Maybe I am just used to things the way they are.

Walking along 42nd Street to Grand Central, I wished there was a Mr. Softee on the corner. Maybe I don’t miss the ice cream so much as I miss the warmth of summer it accompanies. I got a chicken kabob from the street vendor out front, which is not exactly an ice cream cone but on a chilly night maybe it is better. Plus it’s reasonably healthy, especially compared to McNuggets. And summer will be here before you know it. And my future abs and I will enjoy a vanilla cone when it arrives. After all, just because you miss something, it doesn’t mean it is gone forever.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Manor Borne

We had every intention of going to The Living Room tonight, but we ended up living it up at The Manor instead. Roommate and I are visiting South Florida for the weekend, to ring in the new year and escape the wintry breath blowing a seasonal mix of snow and misery down from the arctic. Here in Florida they are complaining about the sixty degree temperatures which feel like Christmas in July to us. Perspective is everything.

We had dinner with Howard and Gio and porn star Tristan Jaxx at Rosie's last night. Tristan is dancing on a box in a dark hole of a stripper bar that quite unappetizingly also serves food. Personally I wouldn't drink out of a glass there, but you know how highfalutin I am about these things in my cargo shorts, three year old sneakers and free t-shirt. While eating, we ran into Matthew Rush and his boyfriend, Gabriel.

After Howard, Gio and Tristan left to get ready for their night of stripping, Mike and I lingered in the Rosie's bar with Matthew Rush and Gabriel and all of their musclebound and bald friends. Matthew told embarrassing stories about his awkward encounters in public. First, when he thought a guy was stealing his french fries at the airport, and then it turned out, his fries were still in the bag and his giant arms had been helping themselves to the other man's fries. Then, he told a story about which he was appearing in a stage show and someone was hissing at him during the show. Livid, he complained about the rude audience backstage only to notice a man with an oxygen tank in the front row when he reluctantly returned to the stage for the second act.

Matthew was exhausted from his recent trip to Chicago and really wanted to go home, but his friends pressured him into one drink at The Manor. Since we had a good time there the night before, we decided to have one drink there too before heading off to The Living Room. As promised, Matthew and Gabriel left reasonably quickly but Mike and I ended up staying for the duration. Partially we were motivated by our favorite bartender Richard, who is as slim, toned and pretty as anything you have ever seen. As Spencer Tracy said in "Pat and Mike" of Katharine Hepburn: "Not much meat on her, but what's there is 'cherce.'"

Fortunately the elderly gentleman who tried to stick his tongue in my mouth just after midnight to celebrate the new year and ended up only licking my horrified lips wasn't there. But there were other kindly old men visiting in the bar with their sons and in one instance, possibly a grandson. As I told Mike, I want to date someone so ridiculously good-looking in 2010 that people are disgusted when they find out we are together. "See the look on my face when I see them together," I told him of one particularly odd couple, "That's what I want to see." More realistically, our real resolution will revolve around better diet and more exercise. I suppose in the end, I would rather have a ridiculous stomach than a ridiculous boyfriend.

The crowd was just so fun at The Manor, singing and dancing along, and the music was such a delightful mix of old and new, dance and hip hop, I found myself having just the best time. A pocket gay came up behind me to order a drink and I almost offered to give him a "daddy upsies" just so the bartender could see him. Later, his only slightly taller boyfriend showed up and we joked about taking one of them home, even though neither of them was tall enough to actually ride legally in the front passenger seat. But then they hit the dance floor and were amazing. So fun and free and really talented, we were captivated. Finally, as I promised myself I would do more of in the new year, I put aside my expectations and reservations and just had a good time, and let the enjoyment of the party wash over me. So even though we didn't go to The Living Room, it turned out there was plenty of room for living at The Manor.