Saturday, October 9, 2010

Back Splash

I don’t know how I keep ending up back at Splash Bar. It is definitely not one of my favorite places. If I was on, I don’t even think I would check in from that destination. It’s too embarrassing. I hardly have a reputation to protect, but what tattered remains there are can barely survive such an admission. But it was a run of the mill Friday night and there I was, once again, this time in the company of no longer a porn star Ryan Raz.

It has been two years since The Raz first wandered into my radio studio, fresh off the porn world’s version of the turnip truck. Repped by my pal Howard from FabScout and accompanied by two other fresh new young performers, his was the star that ended up burning the longest and the brightest. Last December, he announced his retirement and yet, he seems to be as busy as ever: travelling so constantly that when he returned to the show yesterday, he had to remind me that he still lives in New York City. Really? How can you tell?

Ryan was on the show to promote the Hustlaball, which makes its triumphant annual return to Club Rebel this Sunday, like a stinking bulb sprouting each fall from the sexual manure of Manhattan. I have always had a good, if strange time at the Hustlaball. I don’t have a scene, as the kids used to say, but if I did, this would definitely not be it. And in a fire versus frying pan move to which my life has oddly become accustomed, the party before the party was last night at Splash. I am pretty sure the gays invented the pre-party party and even if they didn’t, they should take credit for it, because it sure feels like their greatest contribution to humanity up to this point. It’s not jazz, but it’s something.

After the show, Ryan and I hopped on a subway down to Chelsea. I suppose the event at Splash was really designed to be a promotion for the main event two days later. The Hustlaball tends to attract a lot of people from out of town and Splash is the Manhattan bar most beloved by those from everywhere that isn’t named Manhattan. I am one of those in that guilty party myself. Before I moved to the city in 2001, it was the first place I wanted to go, no matter how many times Matty rolled his eyes about it. But being a good friend, he always indulged my tourist whims at least once each trip and in that spirit, I joined Ryan at the bar last night.

I don’t know what I was expecting from it but it was less than I thought it would be. Maybe it was because we arrived so early but there were just two other guys there in Hustlaball t-shirts and no one else seemed to be working the event, as it were. They were both very hot and after circulating through the crowd for a bit, they would circle back to us again at the base camp we made at the front bar. I don’t remember their names and I don’t think they even heard mine. It didn’t matter, on either count.

To amuse myself, I checked my bag at coat check with my usual brand of terrible humor reserved for those who deign to work counters. At the movies, I like to order concessions with a southern-fried accent that fools no one. Last night, I made endless wisecracks about how deserted coat check was (“I hope you can find my bag later!”) to the wan smiles of the adorable guy who likely is able to maintain his perfect abs because he is starving to death living on minimum wage and meager tips. What can I say? I find myself hilarious in the face of total adversity.

I stayed just long enough for Ryan’s other friends to start to arrive. Being a good friend means not leaving someone alone if they don’t want to be alone. This kind of retail marketing is a solitary business and there is safety in numbers. I love The Raz and always want to hang out with him more, but context is king. Perhaps Sunday at Hustlaball will be just that context. And once again, the rigid train schedule was more savior than burden.

On the train home, I usually write about my evening. But instead while walking up Sixth Avenue to Grand Central, I got an idea for a little gay movie with a cute working title like “The Project” where a woman who works as an employment recruiter starts dating a hot guy with a gay best friend and decides to make it her rabid mission to use her considerable job skills to fix him up and in the process ends up sabotaging her own relationship. The cuteness of the movie playing in my head, as formulaic as any romantic comedy that ever existed, crowded out the narrative of the evening.

So at creative loggerheads, I decided spontaneously to churn that creative energy elsewhere and leap onto a dangerous third rail and start a Twitter feed. I have railed against and complained about Twitter for months, even as people have begged me to start one. The notion of cramming my thoughts into 140 character haikus was uninteresting to me. But, I realized, going to Splash was uninteresting to me and I did it anyway. This is the year of trying new things and nothing will signal the end of Twitter as a cultural force faster than me joining in. And so this unholy alliance was joined. After all, and now so do I.