I ran around all damn night Halloween in some crazy ass shoes - but I changed before we headed to the East side for the after hours carrying on.
Five minutes into dancing - in flats - I sprained my ankle. I don't know exactly how I did it. I was dancing - cha cha cha - and put my foot down sideways and snap, crackle pop.
As God as my witness, if shoes don't have jacked up soles.....I'm not touching 'em.
I worried and stressed and stewed about that two years ago when I met him for the first time at a HRC fundraiser. I fashioned a little pink flamingo orchid corsage and dashed to the party with pink flamingo swizzle sticks tucked into my pocket as a special surprise party favor for people who didn't get on my nerves (which is rare for a HRC fundraiser). I handed him a swizzle stick for his cocktail and chatted briefly, hoping, "Please let this end.... I have nothing interesting left to say." He was so pleasant - stunningly nice, actually. I remember thinking, "Why don't you go talk to those queens over there, I've used up all my bon mots and obscure film references."
This time around, I left the home sans props, equally unprepared. Or so I thought.
See....a few weeks ago we were asked to promote the St. Louis opening Seed of Chucky. I love killer psycho dolls and it was a great Halloween giveaway - even if we're not getting the movie here 'til mid-November.
I grabbed a pile of papers, and some of the Chucky promo items, which included condoms (seed of Chucky *nudge* nudge *wink* wink) and headed off to the event.
You can only imagine my surprise when my co-worker came up to me and said, "Go say hey to John Waters. He told me he wants Chucky condoms....." I got all bubbly and giddy as I inched up to him and said hello.
Apparently, John Waters is the first person to be murdered in Seed of Chucky and he didn't get all the promo merchandise. When I handed him the Chucky condom, I felt like the coolest kid in school when he giggled at it upon inspection.
I asked him for a photo (in which I look gruesome and he looks suspicious) and then gooched his water glass, which I intend to sell on e-Bay sometime soon.
His talk/lecture was great! Ribald and sassy - he had us roaring with laughter. His warm and friendly demeanor really shines through - even when he's being crass. He used to teach at prision, which really fascinates me and he relayed a story that he earned his cred in the jailhouse by showing them Pink Flamingos. After seeing Divine eat dog shit, I imagine the toughest of the inmates said, 'Yes, Mr. Waters," and dutifully completed their lessons.
Visit their website here: www.hedwigstl.com
The Hedwig show at AMP was amazing tonight. AMP's been my favorite hangout since they opened, and I'm firmly convinced that were she a real-live trannie hooker rockstar, Hedwig would be the perpetual special guest star at my favorite post-punk-alterna gay hangout at 4199 Manchester.
I did have a jolting moment of sneering self-doubt and abject hatefulness after the show. It seemed like post-show all these folks were pairing up and being all romantic and ooey-gooey flirty and happy. I admit I was a bit jealous as well as a bit repulsed by all doe-eyes, ogling and covert (and sometimes overt) groping. I got really depressed, actually. Usually, I don't get too depressed being perpetually single - but something got under my skin Thursday night. Bitter, dejected and alone, I popped two Tylenol PMs and listened to Norah Jones 'til I passed out.
I was having a real sparkle, Neely, sparkle moment. Speaking of that - I Googled that phrase and this site popped up. Maybe it's just this time of year. I was kinda bitter in October last year, too.
I had so much fun working with Joe on developing these guys. We made tee shirts and postcards and Joe's gonna sport a couple for Halloween.
It's been a week since I got back from New York to attend John and Daniel's commitment ceremony, I was beyond thrilled when I got the invitation. It was my first gay marriage, so to speak. I was excited for them and nervous, wondering if I could afford to go.....and my mind immediately raced to what I was going to wear. My first real vacation in two years, a big trip alone and the theme song to Sex and the City wouldn't leave my mind for weeks.
Upon returning, I've been equally preoccupied thiking about what I kept feeling while I was in New York, which was a strange engagement with the city, but an equally strong feeling of detachment from it.
I've spent a couple nights looking at pictures, playing with them in PhotoShop, writing a lot, thinking about this, that and the other.
And I've posted nothing.
There's not a whole lot of interactivity with the photos, because I hate to admit that my Macintosh is slower than molasses and I wish that my little P.C. laptop were here. It whizzes through this stuff so much faster. Hopefully, it will be fixed soon. And posts will resume on a much more timely matter.
One of my most glaring flaws is that my need to do things perfectly sidetracks me from getting the job done in a timely matter.
So.....here's what I wrote between then and now.
This trip has been extraordinary on so many levels, as I’m sure trips to New York are for most people. My last visit here, ten…..no, it’s been eleven years now……left me with a great deal of wisdom, if not a terrible hangover and a chemical dependency problem.
I visited my old haunts and what struck me most was how small everything was. New York, as a city, is bigger than I remembered. Maybe that’s because I walked so much – during daylight hours, to explain a bit more. So many of my New York memories from my youth are tainted by drugs, alcohol and 3 A.M. taxi rides from Limelight to Tunnel or Sound Factory. When you’re actually sober, on foot and it’s 3 P.M., the city seems different.
Let’s begin with a quick breakdown of events:
There’s a market that occurs there a couple days out of the week. You can buy pears, or apple juice or any number of fruity, vegetablesque items. I admit some of the exotic herbs and legumes mystified me and the volume of people out and about startled me. I pretty quickly established some landmarks to help me throughout the rest of my trip. There’s Banana Republic (good windows), The Gap (Sarah Jessica Parker window clings look a little sloppy), Starbucks (I would later learn that using Starbucks as a guidepost in Midtown was a foolish, foolish choice), Virgin Record store and the W Hotel.
Oh! A quick call to the office to see if our editor would look up a phone number for me. When I was getting my pass for the LIRR, my debit card was declined, throwing me into a panic, as it was my only source of funds. Anyway, funds were fine, the bank said I was good to go! Anyway, I quit freaking out and made my way to Hotel 17, where I checked my bag and then it was out into the city. More about Hotel 17 later.
Next, up to Macy’s and Herald Square, traipsing past Rocco’s failed restaurant, a really scary Home Depot on 22nd or 23rd, weaving up and down the ascending street numbers, crossing Broadway, 5th, Park, like a mad-man soaking it all in. Trying to find something familiar. Noticing that every block had a Starbucks and avoiding eavesdropping on cell phone conversations - an impossibility.
I can’t say that anything life-altering happened that afternoon. I walked for more than three hours: up to 34th (33rd?) and then back to 17th, where I checked in, took a shower, got dressed and then took the subway back to 34th to check out H&M (I wanted some new pants). Anyway, new pants eluded me. I don’t know what the big fuss over H&M was all about. It kinda reminded me of what would happen if Urban Outfitters and Old Navy had a child. I wound up really liking this place called Daffy’s though. It was a Marshall’s meets Milan combo I found really amusing.
I also spent a great deal of time chatting with Kevin and Michael, Jo Anne (I hope I spelled that right), lovely Julia and the totally delightful Howard.
Howard was one of the highlights of my trip. Handsome and clever, he has extremely beautiful blue eyes, a voice that gets your attention and a generosity on spirit and sense of kindness that I wasn’t expecting to encounter while in New York. He and his cohort Lois (who officiated the ceremony Saturday) were two of the most remarkable folks I have encountered in a long, long, long-long time.
Gimme a second here - I’m writing this passage on the plane home and I’m getting misty eyed. Hell, a couple of tears just hit the screen. Dammit. How total strangers can touch your spirit still amazes me. Okay, regrouped. Lois and Howard rock.
I don’t want to leave out Susan. She was my guide Sunday to Williamsburg. A graphic designer with stellar conversational skills, she pointed out the hippest of the hip…but I am jumping ahead.
They ran out of food Friday. I resorted to consuming Wheat Thins and real Pepsi just for some calories. I think I had an egg and some toast earlier in the day. I was famished. The party over, Howard walked me to my door, as he lived right around the corner and we parted ways. My first day in New York filled with great memories already.
I’d been invited to grab a bite to eat with Howard, Lois, Catherine and a good natured gentleman who loved to hunt (Albert? Eeek I’m drawing a blank.) . We met up in the meatpacking district at a completely decent, if not a bit too chic-for itself restaurant. Our waiter was a bit surly waiter and seemed a bit annoyed all we wanted were appetizers. From my vantage point, 5 people ordering appetizers (and drinks) in an empty restaurant was better than no one ordering entrées.
Well, the wedding was something else. I cried several times. Friends spoke and read passages that Daniel and John had written about each other. Moving, beautiful, funny and tender, these "lists of things I love about you" expressed their feelings so well that there really wasn't a dry eye in the house. Lois then administered (is that the right word ?) the vows and the ultra-super fabulous Christine Brewer sang. Her rendition of Mira went down deep into my soul. Something in my spirit shifted at that moment. It was one of those annoyingly poignant Helena Bonhomme-Carter(sic?) moments, except it wasn't annoying and her slack-jawed ass wasn't there....so I guees I'm not explaining it right. But I was very touched by the whole experience. Profoundly.
Then it was drinks. Laughs. Apple empanadas. Amazing brownies. This time, it seemed like the food was just about to cut it too short, but they showed up with something else. There were these amazing hors d’oeuvre – the little brown round ones were better than the square ones (or the other way around) – I just know I kept taking a handful at a time.
Then it was over to the Highline. It’s one of those places where folks who’ve watched too many episodes of Sex and the City hangout. That wasn’t meant to sound that bitchy….really. (Hello pot, kettle calling). It was fun. Folks got really stinky drunk. Something prevented me from getting all looped up. I dunno what it was. I coulda been really outta control that night….at the wedding, at the bar, at a fella’s apartment later. And that concludes Saturday.....
Something genteel (no that’s not right, I'm such a catty bitch sometimes....I cannot use that word)…something reflective and thoughtful guided my choices that as Saturday night shifted into Sunday morning. I had lovely conversations with the smokers outside, I carried on inside the club and I helped a very attractive and very tipsy gentleman get home – without resorting to any Sluteralla Von Slutenstein urges. I had to decide if sexy cute guy would make or break my trip. Being all kissy face in the taxi and sleeping in a real bed (my Hotel 17 single wasn't as appealing at that moment) were very appealing.
Sunday morning found me doing the walk of shame to my hotel with a great sense of pride and accomplishment. I’d slept with my contacts in and my clothes on (well.....the ones that count), so my eyes were a little red, my shirt a little wrinkled.... but a cup of coffee in me and a thankful peck on the cheek (I think he was worried about his behavior the night before. I assured him that very few virtues had been compromised.) and I was able to dash back to my hotel, shower and only be an hour or so late for the lox and champagne reception.
Finally!!! Food! Lox and capers and oodles of bagels and 4…5(?) cream cheeses and cupcakes and coffee and champagne, I guess. It was coffee for me - I had a big day ahead of me.
John had stayed out until 5 a.m. – he arrived 30 minutes after I did. He was wearing Blue Blockers, and looked a little pale around the gills. You have to know John to appreciate the exceptional way he melodramatically uttered: “please…no touching…no shaking….no talking.” At one point I told him he had my understanding, but not my sympathy. Social obligations, especially if it’s your wedding, should take precedence over the worst hangover. Well, unless you’re Elizabeth Taylor.
Anyway, the party hosts, JoAnne (wth whom I enjoyed so many conversations, especially about food) and her very tall, super-smart and ultra-pleasant husband have bought an apartment in the same building as Anna Sui. I could peed in my slacks (still not new ones). Their apartment rocked beyond words (and they’re still rehabbing it) – their neighbors and friends downstairs hosted the soiree and we just got a sneak peek before I began another day of city exploration.
Monday, Howard escorted me to the Upper East Side, where like yokel, I asked “when was THAT built” referring to the Whitney and walking headfirst into a display at Barneys. You can take the boy out of the country. The country out of the boy –never.
I admit that as much as I like the Village and midtown, there’s this rich white woman thing that I just cannot deny. Uptown is so lovely. I saw the Breakfast at Tiffany’s house. I walked through Central Park. It was 65 degrees and the park was amazing. And it was Columbus Day and the streets were clean and there’s Michael Kors and Chanel and extraordinary fashions – dresses with this Halston thing going on – dark chocolate brown with hot pink or turquoise linings. Big bauble jewelry and one million year old women with great hair and better shoes and even better sunglasses. Extraordinary objects for even more extraordinary people. Or as Howard put it, over priced mid-century trinkets for self-indulgent, over paid, narcissistic and shallow people. But I don’t care. Those folks along with the punk rock Anne Ricey hipsters over in Williamsburg are all what NYC is about. It makes me so very, very happy. And just a bit sad.
Because as much as I love it, I realize that it’s not really ever going to be for me. It’s too much. Too fast. Too hard. Too quick. I’m still scratching my head over a waiter’s quip if we wanted Chauteau Bloomberg. That’s New York water, but I would have never EVER gotten it. Thanks to Lois and Howard for alerting me to that little pun.
There are a million stories in that city. That’s why New York is so magical to me. But living there, I would want to know them all. And in the process of eavesdropping on all the cell phone conversations, I think the part of me that loves New York would honestly just be overwhelmed by it. Crushed by it. Unless I had a great job, a safe place to live and a really good therapist.
I really envy the folks who live there and don’t get overwhelmed by it. Part of me is still embarrassed I couldn’t hack it there the first time I went. I was a kid. Time has seasoned that embarrassment and I’m now okay with being a little more Podunk than Park Avenue.
I just don’t want to wait ten years before I go back again. I make a pretty good tourist.