Jun 29, 2008

International Re-Male

I'm not sure why, but for some reason, (I think it's because I subscribe to Men's Vogue, and someone is clearly on top of their demographics), but a brand new International Male catalog has found its way back into my mailbox. Completely unsolicited, I swear.

Of course, back in the day, I had less pride and more desperation. I'd see the ads in Rolling Stone, seductively calling me.
Who could resist?

"International."
"Male."
Two things I wanted to be.

I was mortified afterwards, but, hey, you did what you had to do. It was A Different World (from where you come from) then.

They pretty quickly stopped sending them, however. They realized I wasn't going to buy anything. They knew what was up. Even back then, I knew the clothes were ridiculous, but who was looking at the clothes? It was proto porn, and they knew it.

I hadn't seen a one in decades, until it showed up in my mailbox.

Glancing through my brand new 2008 edition of the International Male catalog, past the poly-metallic satin shirt/tie combos, past the nehru jackets and pinstripes, past the nouveau pirate shirts, past duster coat after duster coat after duster coat, past the formal gauze overalls, I was stopped cold in my tracks.

It's a photograph that I know, a photograph I've memorized from nearly 20 years before. I would recognize this Marcus Shenkenberg-at-half-price anywhere:



Of course, the entire catalog can transport you to 1990. That's its beauty.
Compared to the other "fashions" this is pretty standard, nothing too avant garde or flamboyant. It's an IM classic it seems.

I note that the underwear section has shrunk, oddly enough. Even the models' crotches have shrunk, and they're shot headlessly, and almost torso-lessly.

I mean what's the point? They've taken everything that was pure and beautiful about the catalog and destroyed it.
It's very sad.

I was just about to toss it in the trash, when I read that the company is set to fold soon. This might just be one of the last catalogs ever. Not a surprise, of course, but still kind of sad.

But then recycling photos and going soft on the underwear shots are just not good strategies for any business, are they?

Jun 27, 2008

cuteness



Just a little cuteness to pick up the spirits on a dark and gloomy afternoon.

car-a-noia

Almost immediately after my accident a few months ago, within a few hours in fact, I was back in a car driving. It was a necessity. I didn't think about it much. I didn't have the time.

I've been driving every day since then. Only fairly recently, however, have I found myself a bit spooked every now and then when driving. I'll be mindlessly driving along, and suddenly get a paranoia that I'm going to get hit. The fear is unpredictable, just like the accident itself.

I've been in two major accidents in my life, both happened while I was not expecting them (neither was my fault too, but that's another story). Both times my car was totalled, and both times I came out alive, miraculously.
I've been very lucky.
It's odd that I'd start to get paranoid now, but I guess that's how it is. Sometimes the paranoia sets in when you let yourself get comfortable.

I've been driving since I was 13. Actually, even before I could drive a car, my father was training me to drive the boat. He'd leave me at the wheel and teach me to steer. I was being groomed at an early age to drive my mother, that was clear.

My mother's never learned how to drive.

She's in her sixties now, so all hope is lost. She would tell me stories of how her brothers had tried to teach her when she was a teenager, and my father when they first met, but how it never took. They would get frustrated with her and give up. I suspected that she was just unwilling to learn.
I've been driving her everywhere since I was 13 and resenting it, well, almost half the time.

She talks incessantly when she's nervous, literally non-stop. I'm not exaggerating. And she's very nervous in a car. She's a terrible backseat driver as well. Being a passenger, for anyone, makes anyone jumpy, I know. Honestly, I'm a pretty patient man, but let me tell you, she drives me more than I drive her.

I still drive her pretty much everywhere she has to go. It's a pain, but it's what needs to be done.

It's strange how I had never really put two and two together until a few years ago. It had never really occurred to me that the accidents my mother had been in when she was in her teens might have had something to do with her refusal to learn to drive.

She'd told fragments of the stories since as long as I can remember. Twice in her life, when she was in her teens and early twenties she'd been in a serious car accidents, both times friends of hers had been killed, once in a school bus accident in which the girl next to her had been killed, and she herself had been hurt. She still has the replacement teeth from 50 years ago.

Thankfully, my own accidents have not been that bad, comparatively, but I think I understand her more. I don't know why the obvious hadn't occurred to me sooner. Maybe, like paranoia, insight is also delayed.

Jun 26, 2008

back to the future with Elsa K.

After mentioning dear old Elsa down there, I had to wonder if anyone else remembers her. I have fond memories of her stilted delivery and posh Australian accent.
Her show was de rigueur each weekend for me. My mother, always the enabler, would wake me up for it. Here's a clip of her (saying "Milan") and looking into the future
(the 90s)

Jun 25, 2008

Milan

Frontier Psychiatrist mentioned something about Britishers pronouncing Milan as to rhyme with "villain" in a play he'd seen, which made me recollect a date I had years ago.

I remember a conversation, directing me to his apartment.
"It's on Milan Street," he told me.
"Where's that?" I asked. It didn't ring a bell.
"You know, uptown. M. I. L. A. N." he repeated in his thick Southern accent.
"Oh, you mean Milan?" I pronounced it properly, you know, the way Elsa Klensch did on Style.
"No, silly. It's Milan...like MY-lan," "That's how it's said in New Orleans."

Being from the suburbs, and never having heard it actually pronounced, I was mortified.
Of course, he was right (even if he was from Georgia).

That said, I've still hung on to my Elsa Klensch pronunciation. I like it. I might even pick up the alleged British pronunciation, just to further irritate the locals and wannabe locals.

Anyway, more about this boy.

I walked into his apartment, the slave quarters of one of the mansions uptown, beautifully renovated. On the walls were posters of Broadway productions. More than a few were from "The Phantom of the Opera."
Apparently, he had just broken up with the lead actor of a travelling tour of "The Phantom of the Opera." I heard an inordinate amount about that. Of course, I was a poor audience for this, since I'm one of those rare gays practically missing the Broadway gene. I'd never even seen a musical at that point.

He showed me his scrapbooks. I feigned interest.

The only other "art" on the walls was this:



And that was when I knew it wouldn't work out.

Now appearing at Sam's Club

Let's imagine you're wandering the canyons of industrial sized containers of tomato sauce and great mountains of toilet paper at Sam's Club, when you spot this walking towards you:



She's wheeling a buggy filled with paper products and hair spray.

At her side is her mate, a 60 something Chippendale-ish dancer, with frosted mullet and a denim shirt, the sleeves cut off (but you knew that already, right?)

Do you ask for autographs?

Cower in terror?

A little of both?

Of course, any native New Orleanian would be star struck. I was too star struck to do anything but gawk. I mean this is none other than the most famous 73 year old "burlesque performer" on Bourbon St., the legendary Chris Owens herself!

Of course, this is nothing compared to Dave's "throw down" with her a while back, but I'll take what I can get.

Jun 24, 2008

jumping the croc



I've been alerted to the existence of these signs of the impending apocalypse by Dlisted.
Yes, it's high heeled Crocs.

Jun 19, 2008

"K as in mess with me I'm gon kill you."

Here's yet another sketch of Gladys Kingston from the BBC's "Little Miss Jocelyn"
Too funny.



I swear we have a teacher like this at my school.
Occasionally, I'll run into a craigslist's "missed connection" that makes me laugh. (Ok, often). Here's one:


Hi "H",
I just wanted to say you are one handsome African American man and a heck of a nice person. A pretty darn good waiter too. I am bi and rarely meet a man I'd like to get to know. Id be happy just knowing you because somehow I doubt you ever look at men in any other capacity but friends. On the off chance you see this and want to connect, no strings, just coffee and chat maybe or whatever please hit me back.



This one manages to be...at the same time...banal, offensive, pathetic, kind of creepy and hilarious.

(not so) Pretty (not so) Baby

This afternoon, I had drinks with an older gentleman, (ok, so he's only like 10 years older than I am, but that's old), a friend of a friend. I'd met him once before, but this time it was just the two of us.
It was a platonic meeting, certainly for me. For him, who knows.

Awkward.

Anyway, it was pleasant enough, and mercifully short. However, in the hour and a half or so we were there, a good 20 minutes of it was taken up by his chatting with a colleague from work. (bad form), and he fielded three cell phone calls, (bad form again, sorry). Somewhere in the conversation he told me all about a friend of his whom I had met the same night as I had met him, speaking as if I had never met him (the friend). I had to wonder, "do you have no memory of my being there? It was only four of us."
But I didn't say it.

Anyway, he kept buying drinks...drinks that I really did not want or need. They were awfully strong. I have a pretty good tolerance for liquor, but I was feeling them. Now the migraine I was nursing on the way over has only intensified.

We met at the Columns, which is a nice place. I always like going there.

It's a small hotel, with a bar in the former dining room.



I haven't been there in a while. I used to go more often when I lived uptown. Back then, more than a decade ago, I used to have a friend, the partner of my friend and mentor's, Mary, who worked there as a night manager while in grad school. I remember how excited she was, showing off the gun they gave her. She'd carry it around everywhere. She'd tell tales of what she'd seen, this local anchor person's or minor politician's clandestine affairs, or this
(boring) writer's many mistresses or how easily it was to bribe the fire and health code inspectors.

One night, I remember, she and her gun giddily took me on a tour of the rooms upstairs. The rooms were kind of cool, funky...sort of late Victorian meets 70s porn.
(They've since redecorated.)

Speaking of 70s porn, it was also the site of the filming of Louis Malle's "Pretty Baby," a movie I haven't seen in centuries. I'd like to see that again, Brooke Shield's "star making" turn.

Jun 17, 2008

yet another unsolicited movie review

When left to my own devices...and boredom sets in, it's not pretty. To wit, this afternoon, I took myself to see "What Happens in Vegas" (when movies take their titles and premises from commercials, it's a sad day indeed. I mean when is "Got Milk?" coming out? Aren't we overdue yet? The title practically writes its own script.)

Anyway, two thoughts:

1. Cameron Diaz is looking really old and tired lately. I mean granted she's nearly as old as I am, but still...

2. Ashton Kutcher (I hate that name by the way, everything about both of them irks me for some reason) is truly pretty. I mean girl pretty, with a body fat percentage to kill for.
I'd never really noticed it before. He's certainly prettier than Cameron, which is maybe not a good thing when pairing up for a "rom com."


That said, he exudes zero sex appeal, at least for me.
Nada.

Jun 16, 2008

Bells will ring.....

One of my earliest memories, I must have been all of 3 or 4, is being in the carport of the house next door. It was inhabited by two older girls (perhaps 9 or so), who seemed infinitely more worldly and sophisticated than I was, with their easy bake ovens and their Barbie dolls.

One hot summer day, I remember even still, the cicadas chirping frantically, the smell of freshly mown grass, the smell of chlorine in the sprinkler water...
the girls were atop the hood of their parents' car, angrily tossing their parents' collection of 45s on the concrete. I was sitting calmly below, watching the theatrics.

Their carport was littered with scratched 45s, shattered 45s...and a few nearly pristine ones. The younger girl didn't have that good of an aim, I guess.
I, never one to pass up free things, even as an infant, picked one up, a nearly pristine one. I brought it home. Somehow or another it was played.


It was from (New Orleans' own) Dixie Cups:



This song is still one of my very favorite songs ever.

I'm sure it set the stage early on for nothing but disappointment and misery in my life, but whatever...it's just a pure, perfectly beautiful song.

(Anyway, this is dedicated to Mr. P and all those folks out in CA today.)

"MANopause, it's no joke."

Today, while in Whole Foods, I picked up a copy of a local free circular called "Natural Awakenings"
(proudly printed on recycled paper with "soy based ink")

Yeah, you can probably figure out the audience for this soy based rag...the faux bohemians who shop at Whole Foods.

Anyway, I flipped through the articles absent-mindedly while waiting for the rain to stop.
I flip through

"It's Never Too Late to Have a Functional Childhood,"
to:

"MANopause. It's no joke. Men go through the change of life, too,"
(Sample quote:
"I hit a wall and traditional medicine just couldn't help. I found myself at 48 carrying around 70 pounds of body fat, not being able to get an erection, not feeling good, twice divorced and not in good shape at all.")

Then it's off to
"Righteous Investing,"
"Have a Green Wedding"
"Seeking a Certified and Reputable Colon Hydrotherapist?"

Only to find
"Real Men Do Yoga"

Profiled in his article are a few local male yoga enthusiasts.
Here's a quote:
"A bicycling accident in Nepal proved to be a turning point for him. He recalls lying in the street, convinced he would die from the impact, feeling deep regret that death would prevent continued yoga practice."


I'm sorry, but I had to laugh aloud at that, though I'm sure the Whole Fooders didn't approve. No laughing allowed in the cathedral, you know.

Jun 15, 2008

the overgrown supershit.



Ever since I got some cd polish, I've been re-listening to and re-loving this song ("Lessons Learned from Rocky 1 to Rocky 3") by Cornershop.
It's on one of the early 21st century cds from Michael that I managed to dig out of the junk pile.

It's a cute video too.

Jun 12, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, the hardest working hair rollers in show business

From ABC News:

Anyone with a taste for soul music and a few dollars to spare can snap up one of James Brown's mementos when Christie's auction house puts hundreds of the late "Godfather of Soul's" personal effects up for sale next month.

Among the attractions that go on the block on July 17: a leather belt with a red-and-silver rhinestone buckle reading "Sex Machine" (estimated value: $2,000-$3,000), a Hammond B-3 electric organ ($15,000-$20,000), sunglasses, rollers, picks, hair products, bow ties and a dome hair dryer from the salon in the late music legend's home.


Just a roller would do for me. Ok, maybe a hairpick.


Read more here.

Jun 11, 2008

urban life

I've mentioned the wildlife in my neighborhood before, but there seems to be a new addition.

This afternoon, while walking, I saw, cliche of cliches, an alligator swimming by, all of 300 feet from my apartment. I live near the heart of the city. I think he was attracted by the still fresh carcass of a goose on the bank of the bayou.

Crossing the street I was nearly hit by a taxi, which are much more dangerous than alligators it seems.

Peenee's meme

So, not only has Mr. Peenee tagged me with a meme, but he has also written it himself.
It's pretty clever, but a bit of work. Let's see if I can manage it.

The Mrpeenee Auto Haiku Tag Meme tm.
Here’s how it goes:
In five syllables, no more, no less, describe the worst movie you can think of.


Adam Sandler hair.


In seven syllables, no more, no less, describe your worst date. Bonus points if it was sordid. Subtract points if it sounds too much like an overweight fifteen year old Goth girl.

Why yes, I am a priest. See?

In five syllables, no more, no less, describe the worst job you ever had.

Temp, dark cubicle.


Put it all together and you have a haiku of life’s low points.

Adam Sandler hair.
Why yes, I am a priest. See?
Temp, dark cubicle.

Play along if you like.

Jun 10, 2008

drunken noodles and white weddings


I just got home from dinner with my newly married friends. I hadn't seen them since the wedding, which I realize I never described. It was very nice. The reception was at the zoo, of all places, in the swamp exhibit, so the guests from out of town (95 percent) could see nutria frolicking while eating steamed asparagus.

It really was quite lovely.

Of course, the crowd was very...ummm...white.

Here are a few random snatches of conversation I remember:

"Yes, the fellowship to Paris begins next month. I'm kind of dreading it."
"Barcelona is so overdone."
"Yeah, like when I was climbing in Montana I nearly backclipped. Dude, that was scary."
"Apple is totally back."
"She just moved to Park Slope, can you believe it? It's tragic."

The crowd was made up of the groom's and bride's undergrad friends from Yale, and their newly minted grad friends from Harvard.

Oh, and us.

Anyway, I hadn't seen them since the wedding, so it was nice to catch up. For some reason I didn't get the chance tonight...and didn't have the energy to mention that I'd been nearly killed on the night of the rehearsal dinner in a pretty horrible accident. It never seemed to come up. Instead we talked about their honeymoon and lots of work talk.
(to paraphrase from above) "Tragic."

I did manage to get them to go to our local Thai restaurant, since no one else will go with me. All the friends with whom I used to go have either moved away or don't like it anymore. I don't think I've won any converts, but they were good natured enough to indulge me. The best part of the night is that I got to have my old standard, drunken noodles, again for the first time in a year.

Jun 9, 2008

"They only want you when you're seventeen..."

I just got back from seeing Ladytron. It was a good enough concert, but so loud that you couldn't hear the lyrics.
I know, I sound like an old coot, but it's nearly 4 hours later and I still can't quite hear fully yet.

The light show was impressive, though it distracted me from seeing properly what the band was wearing. It was very chic, however. That much I could tell. Michael and I did some internet sleuthing in his hotel after the concert to find out more about the clothes, but with no luck.

It's always most interesting to me to see the crowd at such venues and how the kids dress. There was a strong showing of fashionable young women...surprisingly few gays...and a good size leftover emo types.

Oh, and three old people (me, Michael and his friend Kirk)
It's always awkward to be the oldest person there, but apparently, according to the guy in line before Michael, you can be 26 and still feel like the oldest person at a concert. Waiting to go in, he mentioned something about being annoyed by all the high schoolers at concerts he'd gone to.

Anyway, here's the first Ladytron song I ever heard, the"hit," "Playgirl":



The opening band I'd never heard of, Datarock from Norway, I believe. They seemed to be having a lot of fun up there, and that was nice.

Jun 7, 2008

"this is for whoever taught you how to kiss in designer jeans..."



In honor of his 50th today, here's one of my favorite songs by him.
Plus a cool drive through NYC.

Jun 6, 2008

random objects I'd like

A.
B.
C.
D.
E.

F.
G.


















A. Nude Paint-by-numbers (by way of Silent Porn Star.)
B. Fornasetti Rug (as seen in both Elle Decor and Fabulon)
C. Smeg (yeah, I know) refrigerator (as seen in Elle Decor and joe to hell)
D. Bic pen cover adapters. So handy.
E. That Zebra skin rug. (the sofa's nice too)
F. Darling pet monkey
G. Coke (bottles designed by various artists)

Jun 4, 2008

neutral ground

This morning, I drove past, just to see if it would still be there.

It was.

I live in a highly lesbian area. It's wonderful. It's one of the reasons I love this place.

The other night watching HGTV (which, sadly, is pretty much the only tv I can manage nowadays) I noticed on their "House Hunters" that they were in NO.
A lesbian couple was looking for a new home. I thought to myself snarkily,
"Where? Midcity? pfffft."

And surely enough, as they pan to the happy couple walking around, I see that they're within walking distance of my home. I recognize the houses.

My snarkiness instantly evaporated, replaced by childlike excitement. "Oh my God, look, the lesbians on tv are in my neighborhood!"
But the views of the neighborhood were fleeting.

Anyway, a few months ago, during the (very ignored) Louisiana Primary, two of my neighbors (who live in a huge Victorian on the corner) were out on the neutral ground
("median" for the rest of the US).

They were supporting a six foot tall piece of plywood with "VOTE FOR HILARY!" spray painted in red on it. (By the way, I didn't)

They were frantically waving the six foot tall plywood sign (I wouldn't want to get in a fight with either, let's just say).

"VOTE FOR HILARY" has been leaned up against the Victorian porch for the past few months, getting bleached and warped by the elements.

But, as of this afternoon, it's still there.

Jun 2, 2008

guess the artist

Can you guess the artist of the collages below?
I found these at the Paris Review, and was surprised, but in retrospect shouldn't have been.

Lovely.



Find out here