Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tune Town

Caught a Bass tonight. Well, technically, I didn’t catch one, I saw one. And it wasn’t a fish, it was a celebrity. So maybe I should start over. Saw Lance Bass tonight at Therapy. We all did. As expected, when he hovered around the lip of the miniature stage there, just at the edge of the lights, not at all to his surprise, two by two we turned and drank in his blond visage. There are no accidents.

It seemed appropriate to see a real live celebrity at the bar mere moments after Brian introduced me as one to his collection of bright young things. To be fair, he said there were two celebrities at the table: me and Michael Ausiello. I didn’t place Michael right away because I couldn’t hear his name over the loud music and after going around the table I wouldn't have remembered it anyway after all the other names were tossed out rapid fire like a pop quiz. I think one of the girls was named Colleen, but names and faces whirled by so fast, I can’t be sure of anything.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Holidays and Nights

“Will you have enough to write about tonight?” Matty asked as we positioned ourselves dangerously close to a table filled with cookies. We were both back in Chris Stadler’s cozy elegant apartment in the West Village and it felt good to be back. It is the holiday season in New York and even though the tourists are everywhere, like cockroaches with strollers, it is a wonderful time of year. In fact, it is truly the best time of year to be in Manhattan.

Yes, that first flush of spring is amazing, after a long dark winter, when the tulips and daffodils spread along the avenues like a beautiful infection. Easter this year was as pristine and delightful as any classic MGM musical. And when the air turns crisp in the fall and you finally get to unearth your favorite sweaters and watch the pumpkins sprout along 34th street, there is a certain palpable excitement. But the gaudy fabulous storefronts of Fifth Avenue and the oversized Christmas decorations on Sixth Avenue and the rush of merry holiday parties can’t be beat. We know we are all in for a hell of a winter but at least we are all in it together. That togetherness in the face of near constant adversity is the beating heart of New York life. Plus there is always plenty of vodka to keep us warm.

It is Shay’s birthday so throwing a combination holiday party is in order every year. I went to the party with Matty and Andrew, and brought Pittsburgh Chris along since he is still in town. We started with a pre-cocktail in their apartment, under the blazing lights of their newly erected Christmas tree while, for our collective amusement, Matty opened my book to a random page and read aloud the opening paragraphs of the chapter about his own dog’s first birthday party. During the story, Parker stood by expectantly with a plush toy shaped like a carrot in her mouth.

The whole scene in Matty’s apartment was like an ad for a high end retailer, and the catalog fantasy life continued minutes later as we burst into Chris’ apartment, where we were greeted immediately by his cheerful boyfriend Brent, dressed sharply with a holiday bowtie. He and Chris had coordinating looks, similar but different, like the paintings of sailboats that adorn the front hall. Chris’ hunk of a roommate (and former upstairs neighbor) Mike was packed tightly in a dress shirt and tie, although his tie clip spent the entire evening trying to escape his ensemble, clinging to every sweater it was pressed against in the increasingly crowded apartment.

Chris, Brent and Mike took turns in the kitchen working as bartenders to keep a sense of order, which is very important in a party like this. Most of the food was positioned not far from the alcohol in the kitchen. And combined with using the bed in the bedroom behind the kitchen as the final resting place of the mounting stack of coats created a chaotic traffic jam of laughter, spilled drinks and thwarted ambitions for those who wished to pass. While in the thick of this mess one drunk was a second away from accusing me of trying to put something in his drink, when I was merely trying to right the damned thing before it filled my entire shoe with gin.

I expected to see Gray, who is in town, although he ended up not making it to the party. That worked out well for me because I wouldn’t have been able to write about him anyway. Also there was Erik, who was unhappy with what I wrote last time I saw him, even though, like Gray, he wasn't upset about what I said about him, he was upset about the rest of the content of the entry. Oh well. Par for the course I guess. Matty observed that my blog does have the habit of upsetting people, but I have no qualms about that because what I write is true and I don’t try to portray myself as a nice person along the way because I’m not.

While Gray and Erik have not been happy with being written about, I have no way of knowing how Daniel feels about it. Like Charlie before him, Daniel has been the source of long distance observation for some time now, always in the confines of The Park on Thursday nights. But then suddenly there he was in Chris’ apartment, looking as handsome as ever. We were in close quarters a few times, but never actually spoke. Maybe he didn’t know it was me. I hope so. The party was so much fun, the last thing I wanted was to be confronted by a stranger, even if it was totally justified.

It was an evening filled with pleasant surprises. Hermit Matt, a radio show caller from Arizona who earlier this year I encouraged to take a job in NYC and then snubbed horribly in person at Therapy bar a few short days later, made his appearance on the scene with his hot roommate Trey. I did my best to be my most charming and gregarious self to make up for actually being the real me last time. Aside from Pittsburgh Chris, he wasn’t the only listener at the party. It turned out that a cute blond named Kevin, in the city from New Jersey with another gay named Nathan, recognized me from the sound of my voice. That is a problem. I need to work on a new in-person voice to keep my relative anonymity intact.

After dismembering a gingerbread man with my savage teeth like a character in a Saw movie, I looked up and saw a familiar face making his way into the kitchen. There was Conor blowing kisses to me across a crowded room, his regulation black NY coat still on over his fashionable shawl collar sweater. And standing behind him was his pal Andrew, who is my favorite inconsequential flirt. In a town full of men I flirt with without intent, he is the best at it.

I hated to say good bye mere moments after saying hello, especially with Andrew so handsy, but we had already been at the party for three hours, even if it had blinked by in a flurry of baked brie and Christmas sweaters. I pushed my way through the crowd to the bedroom and joined some others in the vain attempt at finding our coats in the melee on the bed. It all looked like a bin at the Barney’s Warehouse Sale, with a dozen hands circled around clawing and tossing for just the right thing. For an instant, I worried that my beloved grey wool coat had been purloined, as happened to me at Robbie’s party eight years ago. But suddenly, as I voiced my concerns out loud to the disbelieving crowd, I fished it forth from the debris and triumphantly raised it over my head to thunderous cheers.

By now, Conor had made his escape to the living room. As I hugged him good bye, he pulled me close and whispered in my ear, “Tell me everything that is happening with you in thirty seconds.” I caught him up on all the sudden fame in my life: my walk-on role on Days of our Lives, being in the OUT 100 this year. And then I started to tell him a story about a mutual acquaintance. He stopped me short. “I hate [him]!” he declared emphatically. While I don’t share the strength of his disapproval, I too disapprove just the same. One not nice person to another, [he] is just no good.

As I journeyed out of the apartment with Matty and Andrew, we passed Chris and Mike separately on the stairs. Mike was now without his tie. “Did you take off your tie or did the tie clip finally succeed in attaching itself to someone’s sweater on its own?” I asked as he walked by. “Finally!” he called out cryptically and then was gone. Down on the street we ran into Grant and a female friend who was smoking and didn’t seem to mind at all the brisk night air. It turns out that Grant will also be in Utah in the post Christmas frame, along with Matty and Andrew and me. I couldn’t have been happier. December 27th, we hit the slopes in Park City and it will be grand! As much as I love New York, it is ultimately won or lost on the strength of the friendships you make there. And if you can take them with you, out on the town or even all the way to the Rockies, all the better.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Under The Wither

Is it a function of getting older that people just annoy you all the time, or were they always annoying and as the rest of your senses dull it just becomes more acutely obvious? It’s like when you get older and you go to a bar and suddenly the music is always too loud. You would think that a person who has a hard time hearing would never think anything is too loud, but the fact remains that it is. It is probably because we have stopped listening to the music and started trying to have a real conversation just at the moment when our bodies no longer allow us to do so. I guess people are like the club. Just at the moment you want to get serious about knowing them, the noise they generate around themselves is overwhelming.

When my mother turned forty, she said, “I never thought I’d live this long” as she blew out the candles. My sister and I still being teenagers at the time, it seemed strange to think at the time that she would embark on that most important journey of parenthood with no real expectation of seeing it through to the end. But now that I am blowing out similar numbers of candles, I see what she meant. It all went by so fast but at the same time, we’ve been here a long time and we are still here, with a lot more time to go. It is like running a marathon where you ran your heart out for the first ten miles only to discover as you are gasping for air that there are another sixteen miles to go. Everyone is standing around on the sidelines cheering, but all you want to do is sit down for a minute.