Saturday, January 31, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
About 12 years ago, one summer Sunday evening, I was hanging out at Lafitte's in the French Quarter. This is not the Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop that many tourists are familiar with - but rather Cafe Lafitte in Exile, the oldest gay bar (they claim) in the US of A.
Sunday afternoons and evenings at Laffite's are all about Trash Disco. Now, this doesn't mean exclusively 70's disco music, but just about anything fabulously dance-able: there is a club remix of Petula Clark singing Downtown, Tammy Wynette fronting for KLF in Justified and Ancient, and the sensational remake/remix of John Paul Young's Love is in the Air, as featured in the marvelous movie Strictly Ballroom. The last one there even has audience participation of which Al Gore would disapprove. (At the big crescendo of the title, paper napkins are thrown into the air. Quite an effect in a crowded bar...)
So, this one Sunday, I was watching the videos and chatting with friends and being adorable not-40 yet...and an intro started. A very recognizable intro...Whitney Houston. I Wanna Dance with Somebody...
Well, there was a cute young man, standing in front of me, who just about wet himself when he realized what song it was. In fact, he was so excited he had an SDA.
SDA, you ask...what's that?
Spontaneous Drag Attack.
Very entertaining, if viewed from the correct distance.
I was right behind him...and he was about to perform. I didn't know that at the time, but I should have recognizd the signs.
So, when the music got to that first punctuated "Woo" that Ms. Houston does in the intro, the young man in front of me threw his arms up and out...making contact with my face.
My right eye, actually.
Thankfully, I have vodka in my system to help numb the pain and we laughed it off. It really didn't hurt all that much at the time...
The next morning, however...
I got up, made coffee, stumbled around the apartment...and nearly screamed when I looked in the bathroom mirror.
A lovely shiner, right where he'd hit me during his SDA.
Now, try explaining that to your co-workers. Somehow, they didn't believe the line, "Well, you should see the other guy..."
So, for all of you who need your own SDA today, here's Whitney.
Just be sure to check out who's around you before you start flailing your arms, OK? (The "Woo" in question here occurs around 38 seconds.)
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Must have been nice to nearly destroy HP and still walk away with a 42 million dollar golden parachute. Can you tell I despise Carly Fiorina?
And, to clarify the title of this post: Is it just me (and The Beau, who first pointed this out and now I can't picture anything else) or does Carly Fiorina look like she could be VERY related to Martin Short? Like siblings, raised in different homes. How Parent Trap...
Either way, she gives me the creeps.
And I thought the McCain campaign had done a good enough job of throwing her under the bus...but apparently not.
Like Cher and the cockroaches post-apocolypse, she just keeps showing up.
Friday, January 23, 2009
The following is just a random bunch of stuff with the merest of similarities: parenting.
As a teen, I spent a great deal of my free time babysitting, and many parents (and friends of our family) commented with sometimes annoying regularity what a great dad I would be some day.
When I first started coming out to my friends in my late teens and early 20's, I was on the short end of comment like, "Oh, what a waste..." and "Gee, won't you miss having kids?" and so on...
Over the last 10 years or so, during any of my more "substantive" relationships, people have been very forward in asking if we plan to adopt (or opt for any of the less passive modes of obtaining a child - no, not kidnapping...). The subject even came up on my first date with The Beau (it'll be 4 years this May, but who's counting?). We are both firm in our conviction: we love and adore the kids in our lives - nephews, neices, children of friends and neighbors - and enjoy their company...in relatively short doses. We know our limits.
We have developed a shorthand to signal when one of us (usually the Beau) is reaching a point where they can take little more. It started one day in the presence of a very tired child, acting like a very tired child who was not have the best day with a parent who was similarly not having the best day. It was not pretty, for anyone. The kind of day where we'd all like to request a do-over.
The Beau turned to me and said, "Tell that story again about how you don't want to have children..."
It has since been reduced to just, "Tell me that story..."
Last Saturday, on the flight to Orlando for a company meeting, I met quite a number of parents and kids - some on their way to the Mouse, and others on the first leg of a trip to Washington, DC for the Inauguration. Quite a combination of similar, yet still disparate types of energy.
Most of the kids were wonderful during the flight - it could have been much worse. I overheard one dad talking to a mom he was sitting across the aisle from, extolling the rewards and virtues of being a parent. "There's nothing better in the whole world." He kept saying this, over and over.
For him. Nothing better for him. I'd be willing to bet that some of the parents that might happen to read what I've posted so far have been mildly offended or put off at least by my tone and phraseology.
I am OK with that. Please understand that I love kids, I loved teaching and think it's great that the world is making more Gays without me ever having to lift a finger.
There are other things in the world. Other things that are better for Other people in the world. People who don't have any interest or drive or desire to be parents.
Sometimes, we come up on an odd, reverse side of that. Certain groups tell us that we can't be parents because it's wrong/immoral/illegal/inappropriate/fill in the blank. Other people tell us that we just don't know what we are missing, not being parents, and that we'll never really be fulfilled as humans without that knowledge and experience.
Makes me bristle.
What happened to Live and Let Live? I love your kids. I think your commitment to raising your kids is stunning and wonderful and breathtaking and I know it's something I could not and would not do in my lifetime. Why can't that be OK too?
Last weekend, a waitress who lived and worked in the French Quarter was murdered outside her apartment as she was coming home from work. There were a few witnesses who were able to supply the police with descriptions and assist in creating sketches that were distributed throughout the city.
By noon yesterday, all three of the suspects involved in this robbery-gone-bad were in custody after turning themselves in to the authorities.
Two 15 year olds and one 14 year old. Who prompted them to turn themselves in?
These mothers saw the sketches, recognized them immediately and urged their kids, their children to surrender to the police, peacefully. And they did.
Could you do that? Could you go to your child and ask them, plead with them to hand their lives over to the police, knowing that what comes next is the unknowable?
It's only hypothetical for me, who will never have kids of my own - so it's easy for me to say, "Hell, yes."
What about you, moms and dads? What about you? Could you do that?
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
It was a disaster, running for only 80 performances. (Sondheim broke that record, with Anyone Can Whistle lasting only 9 performances. Carrie, the Musical is my all-time flop champion, closing after 5 shows...although it really should have closed at intermission of its first performance...but I digress...)
Surviving All American are a couple lovely tunes, including one that has unexpectedly become, ahem, my signature song. It's a sad, wistful song of longing and regret - lost love and missed chances for romance and such. This song is "Once Upon A Time".
I first heard this song on Mandy Patinkin's eponymous album, sung tenderly and without pretense. (Shocking for Mandy...) Again, I degress...
I liked the song. It stayed with me. The tune is very straight-forward and textbook in form (AABA). It stayed with me because it is lovely. Then I discovered that the most wonderful piano player in my life - Tom at Good Friends - knew the tune...and we started doing this song most Sundays at their sing-a-long.
Move forward a couple years, and it had become part of our standard repertoire. A handsome man with whom I was smitten commented on how me adored the song, but found the lyrics to be too painful for the loveliness of the tune.
I like a challenge.
So, to please this handsome man, with whom I had not a snowball's chance in Hell, I went home that night and wrote a new set of lyrics.
More reassuring, winsome and hopeful. I like them quite a bit. They are all I sing now. People who know the song from its origins will ask me where this alternate set of lyrics came from and I usually lie and say some recording somewhere.
I wrote them.
Now, I had been thinking about this for a while and thought it would be great to post to Music Monday as spearheaded by the lovely Soccer Mom in Denial. I went in search of a video to post for all to hear - and found my way to Bobby Darrin's heart-wrenching rendition.
Knowing a little bit about his life and troubled love for Sandra Dee, it makes the performance even more moving. Here is that video:
The handsome man liked the new lyrics, but I never had the heart to tell him that I wrote them for him.
No. That's not quite accurate.
He wasn't worth telling. Sure, I wrote them with him in mind. But these were for me.
So, here's my version. Sorry, no recording. You'll have to make a trip to New Orleans and stay over some Sunday - make sure that your flight is not too early on Monday morning. That won't be pretty after the time we have the evening before. And you will have heard this:
Is better than before.
Ranting & Rambling in New Orleans
This is reaching for it
This is wishing that a moment would arrive
This is taking chancesT
his is almost touching
What the beauty is...
"The Beauty Is"
from The Light in the PiazzaBy Adam Guettel
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