Dec 31, 2006

The Howling, Part 12

It's the end of the year and she's back at it again, big time. I think I should get out now.

a day at the museum

Yesterday, bright and early in the morning, the phone rang. I didn't really want to, but I answered it, only to hear from a friend of mine, Joan, whom I hadn't heard from in a few months.

I didn't know why, but I was sure it wasn't good.

"Hey, do you want to go to the Museum today?" she asked.
"Umm...sure." I said, still half asleep.
"How've you been?" she asked.
"All right, I guess. How've *you* been?" I asked.

"Oh.....I have a lot to tell you," she says.

It's never a good sign when someone tells you this, for future reference.

"Ummm...Good stuff to tell me, or bad?" I ask sheepishly.

"I've been in the facility since November," she says matter of factly.
"They're letting me out now for the nights now."

Oh kay.

So it seems that she tried to commit suicide back in November, and has been in "the facility" since then.
In the early days she was there 24 hours a day, under suicide watch. Now, she's progressed.

In the past few weeks she's been allowed out. She still has to go there every day from 8 till 6, but they are letting her sleep at home now.
As she says they're trying to keep her "from isolating herself."

They're encouraging her to get out and socialize now, which is where I come in, I guess.

So we went to the museum and breakfast: she, her husband and daughter...and me.

From what she says, it's a little mensa group in there. They're all very well educated. It's actually remarkable.

Now, I've been privy to her problems for more than 10 years now so I can't say I was shocked by what I heard, but it was still not something I fully expected.

The three of us went to the Museum and had a nice enough time, though you could tell everyone was a bit on edge. It was nice enough, but that's not to say she didn't have her moments of triggering, as she called it. Something about the porcelain room nearly made her break down. She's still a bit fragile.

All in all, if I'm honest, it was a bit exhausting for me, however.

Joan and her husband have what I consider one of the best marriages of anyone I know. I admire and envy their marriage so much. I have to feel for her husband especially, since his mother is literally on her deathbed right now too. I'm, in a way, more concerned about him than her.
For the most part we were all in pretty good spirits.

As Mark, her husband says, it was like "MST 3000 goes to the museum."
Everyone was just so serious in there, I had to make some jokes, you know.
We got a few disapproving looks, but who cares, right?

There's nothing that making fun of others can't do. Sarcasm therapy, I like to call it.

It's remarkable healing.

Dec 29, 2006

Papa don't take no mess

I drove by the post office yesterday to see the firemen putting the flag at half staff. I know why, but I'd rather think in my mind it was in tribute to the greatness that is Mr. James Brown.
That's the way it *should* be.

I'm sitting here listening to "Popcorn" right now, thinking when it's my time to go, wouldn't it be great to have a show-out like drawn hearse to the Apollo Theater. Yes indeed.

I'm sure there's an Iraqi dictator swinging from the gallows by the time I finish typing this, but as far as I'm concerned, there's only one real death that matters in these past few days.

Tahiti 80

because I'm feeling Francophile...tonight:

Dec 28, 2006

rive gauche?

Last night, on a cold wintery night, my friend Sylvie decided to throw a party....outdoors. Since she lives in a tiny apartment, as do I and our mutual friend Velinda, she invited us to the bridge across the bayou (pictured above).
She brought quiches and baguettes, and her friends brought wine. Her son, who was in town for the holiday, lit little torches.
It was like having a little campfire on the bridge.
Velinda and I brought whatever portable chairs and tables we had.
Velinda also brought Jack and Naomi, two children she was baby sitting that night. Jack is in second grade and Naomi is his younger sister. They were adorable and amazingly intelligent.
I spent much of the night playing with them, feeding the ducks and a horde of menacing geese.
Of course Sylvie closed shop abruptly. By the time things were getting rolling, it was over. But that was to be expected. I can't say we were surprised. The party started at 6 and was over by 8.
I don't think I've ever seen her that late. Come 7 pm, Sylvie inevitably disappears, like some sort of vampire in reverse. Don't even think about asking her to do anything past 7pm. It was remarkable that she lasted that long.

The bridge is really pretty at night. On it, to the east you can hear the church bells, above you can see the stars, in the south you can see the skyline of the city in the distance, hear the fish jumping.

For a brief while Velinda and I found ourselves a bit away from the rest of the guests, looking at each other and listening to the voices in the distance, smiling at the incongruity of it all.
She, I, little Jack and Naomi were the only ones there speaking English. It was like we had been suddenly transported to France....well, at least until 8 pm.

Dec 27, 2006

and a partridge in a pear tree?

Up here every morning I'm greeted with a fascinating array of birds.
Nearly every day lately I seem to see a few swans who've made their way down from what must be a nest a little way up the bayou. They're just beautiful.

Among the other birds are mallards, geese, seagulls and the occasional wild parrot, though I used to see more of those where I lived before.

The past week I saw a pelican diving into the water like a kamikaze. Beautiful!

Dec 23, 2006


I came home yesterday after work, in the miserable drizzling rain, the day after a deluge.

In a rush to get home and out of my wet clothes, to begin my long awaited Xmas holiday, I found myself frustrated, blocked on my own street by obnoxious orange cones. I have to take a very short detour to get home, but long enough to be irritated.

I see a herd of film trucks blocking the street about a hundred feet from my apartment. People are scurrying everywhere, unloading film equipment.

A little research yields up the answer. Seems they were filming part of that Brad Pitt/Cate Blanchett movie in my neighborhood. They'd been camped uptown earlier, but for at least one day they moved up here. The movie is an adaptation of an F. Scott Fitzgerald story, my research tells me. It guess it makes sense to film up here then after all, since my neighborhood is predominately from the teens and twenties.

Stangely enough, it's not the first time.
Last year, before
You-Know-What, in my pre-deluge neighborhood, Jude Law, Sean Penn et al. actually camped out for a few weeks near my old apartment. I never did see them however. I did see Sean Penn one day in the line to see a movie at Canal Place one lonely Sunday, but that's beside the point.

I didn't see Brad or Cate yesterday, not even sure they were there, but they might very well have been. I wouldn't doubt it.

Funny world in which we live, isn't it..where you can come home from work and find a celebrity in your neighborhood.
Maybe I'm crazy, but it doesn't seem right somehow.

Deja Vu

Last weekend, my friend Dennis asked me to go third wheeling with him again
His ex-boyfriend had invited him to a housewarming party in the deepest darkest wasteland of the Upper Bywater. We both were a bit afraid to venture up there, but we did. We found it. It was creepy up there. We drove off.
Being early, he asked if I wouldn't mind going with him to another party, in a somewhat safer section of the Garden District.
I said, "sure." We drove up to a large building set like an island between two intersecting streets and I instantly recognized the place.
Twelve or so years ago, I had been brought to a party in the exact same place.
My friend Desiree had lured me there with the old carrot trick of saying there "might be some gay men there"
She knew she was lying. I half-knew she was lying. But it worked every time.
It probably, sadly, still would.

As Dennis and I were ascending the steps, I was in a weird haze of deja vu. We finally got up to the apartment and went in.
In the intervening decade or so it had been beautifully redone. When I had first been there it was like a flop house, old shag carpet, peeling paint, thrift store furniture.
Now, however, the hardwood floors were stripped and gleaming. It looked like Pier One show room.
The hosts this night were a married couple, friends of Dennis' from his former job. The guests were all stylish and hip young thirtysomethings with few springlings of younger and older here and there.
It was all very nice and polite...and dull.
The hostess and her (ambiguously gay) husband offered me a champagne cocktail on the (now enclosed) porch.
He had a higher voice than she did.

"You know," I told the hostess, still dazedly looking around. "I was here exactly on this spot about 12 years ago."
"Oh," she replied, a bit taken aback by my excitement over this fact.
"Yes, exactly here, this very spot," I went on. "I was talking this Tulane girl out of committing suicide. She had done too much coke in your bedroom right there. She wanted to jump."


"The porch wasn't enclosed then," I went on. "It looks really nice now, though. I like what you've done with it."

"Thanks, but it's riddled with termites..." she finally responded....and on she went with a long detailed description of the termite problem.

But who cares. I spent the rest of the party remembering. That night 12 years ago I was still fairly young, but felt old. I was surrounded by college freshmen from Tulane. The party that night had been thrown by a friend of Desiree's ex boyfriend, Ross.
The only people that night there my own age, I rememeber, were Ross...and a couple much like the host and hostess of the place now.

That night 12 years ago, I met a bona fide gigilo. My first.
He, much like the host last Saturday, was ambigously gay, but his clientele was older uptown women, I was told. He was not particularly good looking, but as a ballet dancer, I suppose he was flexible. Who knows.
He and his "girl friend," a buxon woman in some arcane graduate program at Tulane. I can't remember which, took a strange liking to me.

In the kitchen, I remember some very tall preppy boy named St. John (pronounced Sinjin) obnoxiously drunk, guarding the door. He was the first one everyone met upon entering.

Every other guest who stumbled up to the party, told the same story. They had each been robbed at gunpoint downstairs that night, they said. No one, however, seemed very alarmed.

I spent that night 12 years ago, much like I did last Saturday, surrounded by strangers whom I will most likely never meet again. In the decade that has followed, the topics of conversation have graduated ....or degraded (again I'm not sure which). Once it was an endless droning about music and sex and it's an endless droning on real estate and jobs.
That seems to be life in a nutshell sometimes.

Dec 15, 2006

A sweet Norwegian breeze

I'm here tonight listening to, as my friend Michael puts it, (quoting Erlend's newest band's name), "the whitest boy ever,"
Erlend Oye,
or as one of the interviewer I've read perfectly describes him, "the extravagantly bespectacled Erlend Oye."

I'm still too computer-skills illiterate to be able to post any of his music here. I wish I could.

But it's worth seeking out.

He's so soothing and innocently seductive.
I really can't see how anyone could listen to him and not fall a little bit in love with him.

Erlend Oye's official website

Wikipedia's bio


Not quite a decade ago, my friend Danni invited me to a funeral of the father of a cute girl she kind of had a crush on. I didn't know any of these people, of course, but I went.

(I know, I know, but hey, I went anyway...why not, I figured.)

It was at Dillard (the university, not the department store. It was quite the extravaganza too. We're talking multimedia.
But I digress.

Flash forward. Danni's been in San Francisco for more than 5 years now. I saw the girl once, at the Circle Bar, with a group of white girl lesbian punks one night.
Suddenly, one night about a year ago, I'm browsing aimlessly on Friendster and see someone that jogs my memory. It's the cute high school girl....except, well, she's ...ummm...changed a bit.

She's become a man.

There, right front and center is...umm... his...picture, shirtless on the beach.

Ummm...can't deny it, it's damn good work, don't you think?

Damn good.

Dec 6, 2006

Random Slightly Obscure 80's Musical Crushes

Back in the day, I never did care much for Curiosity Killed the Cat's music, but how could one not swoon over pretty boys dancing about in berets?

And a name like (lead singer's) "Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot" ? I mean really.

I recently found out that I shared a crush with none other than Andy Warhol. He was an admirer too (and I'm sure for exactly the same reasons).

It was white boy "soul" as performed by British male models, I believe....and not really all that bad actually.

In the mid eighties, I was enthralled, I'm embarrassed to admit, with Spandau Ballet.
Now to my credit I always hated the lead singer Tony Hadley and his...umm...vaguely Vegas-style stylings, if you know what I mean.

But the Kemp brothers, well...they were what a teen aged me dreamed of being: suave... British....nattily dressed.
It didn't happen, alas.

What can one say, Adam Ant was one of the prettiest men around, wasn't he?

I had a crush on Sade's band members....but most especially Stuart Matthewman (on the far right). He's still pretty cute, but back then, all pork pie hats askew...
He was Jewish...cute....and talented.
(Miss Adu herself was another crush, but we'll save that for another day)