Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dystopia

“This is not utopia!” I thought to myself, but it was. While standing shivering past midnight outside Utopia on 52nd street waiting for people to meet me, it couldn’t have been more of a misnomer. But this is how my life is. I can sit in a room for four hours with thousands of people across North America hanging on my every terrible joke, and then just a few hours later, I am in the well of obscurity on a midtown cross street, dirty snow swirled under my shoes like creamed brown sugar on its way to the Tollhouse.

Cavin Knight, a tight hunky newcomer to the porn world, was on the show tonight. A long time listener now in town filming a scene with Tristan Jaxx for Michael Lucas, he really wanted to drop by. All the insanely hot photos of him on the web made me want to have him on the show too, in particular on my lap. And while he is very hot, I have lately (today) become somewhat obsessed with his screen partner in Fit For Service (one Paul Wagner) who for some reason has long escaped my casual gaze but suddenly has all of my attention. I am certain there is nothing more flattering in this world than to be a porn star, finally meet a radio show host you have followed for five years and then be peppered by questions about someone else. At least, I hope so.

For a few days now, Cavin and I have had something of an intense Twitter discussion going back and forth about our plans for tonight, so it was no surprise to anyone but me that we were supposed to go out after the show. My natural inclination after every show is the same: run for the nearest exit like the building is on fire, don’t look back. But Cavin was adorable and I had said I would go. So needing to spend more time with hot people and then write about it more than I needed to watch something on cable, I acquiesced. But first Cavin had to run back to the hotel to shower since he had raced over to do the show direct from the shoot. And then, after showering and spending time selecting just the right tight t-shirt to wear, he had to wait for Tristan to wake up from his post-coital nap.

“I shot for nine hours today. And nine hours yesterday,” Tristan declared much later outside Utopia, “That’s like a real job!” It is heartbreaking to imagine sex being like a real job, but clocking in at nine hours, I have to assume even good times can start to get to you. Anyway, I knew the feeling. After the show ended, I sat and waited at the office, doing some work, preparing some of the paperwork for my taxes this weekend (big plans!), and reading what people had to say about the photo of us together that I posted on Facebook. Two and a half hours later, still waiting for Cavin and Tristan to head to the bar, it was starting to feel like a real job for me too.

In my life, I spend a lot of time with porn stars. I like porn stars. I don’t watch a lot of porn, so it isn’t weird seeing them with clothes on and most of them are very sweet people for whom porn star is as relevant to daily life as a superhero alter ego. It reminds me so much of my own life, with its compartmentalized fame, but they are invariably much hotter and much younger, which I frankly don’t mind either. That’s nice to see and be seen with. But what I do mind is porn star time, which is to say, they have no sense of the passing of it. I work in a regimented world of clocks and hard breaks. I am chained to that studio at 6:05pm every night. But for porn stars ten minutes means an hour and later is just as good as whenever.

We all finally converged in front of Utopia at a quarter to one, which is just about an hour before the last train leaves Manhattan for my little burg in the hinterlands. This is not a lot of time to build an evening around, but I have written up nights made of less and twenty minutes with two hot porn stars is better than most people get in a lifetime, even if most of that time is spent standing in line. However, it turned out we all enjoyed the line the most. It was a great time to talk and laugh and if we hadn’t been there, I never would have seen Michael Warner.

Michael is a mover and a shaker in the gay world. He is always at the hot event, or hanging out with the right people. He is that gay. He does some club promoting and is photographed shirtless with other hot shirtless people. I am sure the 5,000 friend cap on Facebook is truly a burden for him. And then suddenly there he was, in a puffy blue jacket, with his skinny gay friends outside Utopia. At first he got into the line like all the other gays. There was no separate VIP queue. But it was cold outside and I knew this wouldn’t stand. And within moments, he was waving what appeared to be a photocopy of his ID at the bouncer while the emaciated clipboard gay tried to rush him into the club anyway.

Utopia is a new club night in a bar called Touch. Touch was the site of another failed bar night some years ago where my friend Danny Dias worked as an underwear-clad bartender ministering to an increasingly minuscule crowd. In fact that club night might actually have been called Pup Tent or House of Cards, and if it wasn’t, it could have been, since it folded like one. Because Touch is very nice and across the street from classic party venue Roseland, it is often the site of special VIP after parties and other sundry events; but as a gay club night, the space is cursed to misery. That isn’t exactly utopia either, but you can’t fault the gays for trying.

We stood in line in the cold, which was silly. I watched wispy Gossip Gays stream out the main door like it was a severed artery that wouldn’t clot, XOXOing each other as they floated away into the night to The Ritz or rat-infested walk-ups in emerging Brooklyn neighborhoods. The skinny jeans were as skinny as ever, the multitude of seemingly endless long knit scarves, clearly the must have accessory of Winter 2011, billowed out behind them like Isadora Duncan out for an afternoon drive while I silently begged for a spinning real axle to catch their fancy. Also waiting in line, two prototypical gays stood before us. They were young and sophisticated in dark wool coats, scarves (of course!!!), and one of them had a leather tote that was so stylish it was almost a briefcase. I think I overheard that one of them was named David but it didn’t matter because David, the cuter of the two, in a long indecisive battle to stay in the line or go home, finally gathered up his leather tote and ran off into the night, choosing wisely to forgo the club after all. I wish we had done the same.

Finally inside for the final four minutes I had left in the evening, I ran smack into Erik Bottcher waiting in the coat check line, his puffy winter jacket sadly now a prisoner of bureaucratic inefficiency. “Your coat is nice. Hang on to it.” He warned me, “Don’t make this mistake.” I only wish I could report that coat check was the end of the mistakes but it wasn’t. The horrible, unnecessary line in the cold, the glacial pace of coat check, the lackluster sound system, and gays, still in their scarves, up on the boxes dancing where someone with at least approximate hotness to the porn stars in my midst should have been. “Is that gold lam—ź?” Cavin asked, somewhat incredulous, pointing up at the strange bunting under the DJ booth. Yes. Yes, it was.

Maybe the promoters were trying to recreate the magic of crazy early 90s NYC when the nightclubs were gritty and fabulous and drugs were taken to move the evening to another plane (late morning), not to make it bearable. Or perhaps they were reaching even further back to the heady madness of Studio 54, the neighbor up the street. But times have changed and everyone in Utopia was too young to remember the 90s, let alone the club scene then. I will go one further and offer that they didn’t even know what Studio 54 was until they saw a Manson family edit of the crappy Ryan Phillippe movie playing one night on LOGO when they were in high school.

We walked outside into the cold to go our separate ways: me to the 1:50am train home, them to The Ritz where they should have gone in the first place. It was so cold on my way to Grand Central Station that I started wishing I had one of those scarves that I had been making fun of. “It’s not cold,” Erik had corrected me earlier in the club. “It’s fucking freezing!” And it is. As miserable outside as the bad gay independent film scene was inside.

On my way home on the train, I was comforted by the fact that I didn’t have to go to Utopia ever again if I didn’t want to, not that I think it will be there to go to. The location combined with the poor quality of the experience will probably give it a shorter shelf life than a gallon of milk, if you actually just left it out on a shelf. Home is my utopia now. And then, as the train pulled into the station, I looked up and there he was: David, the young man from the line outside the club. Yes, I was sure it was him. I would know that knotted scarf anywhere. I looked down and there was that leather tote bag. So then it all made sense. It wasn’t just reluctance at the end of the evening to go into the club or wait in line, he had the same buzz killing last drunk train to catch that I had.

Being in a club with gay guys who I could quite literally be the parent of doesn’t make me hot so much as more judgmental than ever. But here suddenly I felt some camaraderie, sympathy. I wanted to say, “Hey. I saw you at Utopia.” But it wasn’t, for either of us.

2 comments:

Heidi Liedberg said...

OMG you should have talked to David!!! If I can't have you i want you paired up with a cutey who doesn't want to be somewhere as badly as you don't!!! LOLOL

Great blog baby!

Luvya!
Heidi

Terry Englert said...

I agree with Heidi, you should have chatted up David on that train. You could have at least asked him where he got that leather bag, but I'm guessing the resulting conversation could have killed the fantasy on in your head.

I really enjoy the way you write. My partner gave me a copy of your book (which you kindly signed) for my birthday, which I have in common with you. Have you heard that someone was trying to change our sign from Scorpio to a crappy one? The nerve!

Anyhow, I miss listening to your show. After finding out that "Dr." Laura was signed on at Sirius to continue her hate speach against gays and to publicaly humiliate depressed callers as she's known to do, we cancelled our six year old subscriptions. Apparently, we weren't the only subscribers to rush to cancel. Can you tell how much I detest her?

Thanks for all you do on the air. Keep up the great work!