Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Union City Blue

Weehawken, where I live, lies right on the Hudson, overlooking NYC. It's a small town, both population-wise (about 13,000) and geographically. Walking just a few blocks inland takes you into Union City (immortalized by Blondie in "Union City Blue"). While Weehawken has mainly white Yuppies and retirees and is rather quiet and picturesque, Union City gets a bit more, shall we say, "diverse." (When you walk on Bergen Line, the crowded main shopping street there, there are signs everywhere proclaiming the city's "diversity." Although, about 99.8% of the people that I've seen on Bergen Line are Hispanic, which ain't too diverse!)

And, by the way, who needs Manhattan when you've got Union City? While growing up, I'd always read about the legendary "Studio 54" and dreamed about hanging out there. Well, Union City has its very own legend: Studio 45!

And Manhattan might have its fashionable stores like "Calvin Klein"... but Union City has...

Here's Blondie's homage to the town:

The longer I live in the NYC area, the greater my understanding that Manhattanites really are a bit snobbish about the "bridge-and-tunnel crowd"---i.e., those who have to take a bridge or a tunnel to get to Manhattan---like folks in Jersey or Brooklyn/Queens/Bronx! (The idea of this crossover played a HUGE role in the minds of the Brooklyn characters in one of my favorite movies, "Saturday Night Fever." Stephanie really lorded it over Tony that she'd made it to Manhattan, and coming to Manhattan was Tony's ultimate goal.) I'd always liked this Blondie song but, being from another part of the country altogether, had no idea about the "implications" of desiring a guy from Union City! Not necessarily just Hispanic---I think Union City used to be, 30 years ago in 1979 when the song came out, just known as lower/working-class white. But the dynamic of "forbidden love" is the same: "Power, passion/Playing a double hand...Cross to the other side/It becomes daylight..." She's going the wrong way (Manhattan to Union City), but can't help herself...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Spending warm summer nights in cars...

Last weekend around 3:30 a.m. some (what I assume were) teenagers parked their car across from my house and started having sex. (I know they were having sex 'cause when they first parked, they accidentally triggered the car-horn, which made me get up and look out the window; and then they left their low parking lights on, so I could see them in action!)

While I was looking out the window at them, I kept saying to myself: "Don't be a bitch. Let them have their fun." Which was countered by, "Fuckin' hell. It's 3:30 in the morning. I have the right to watch my movie in peace without these fuckin' weirdos showing up FUCKING LOUDLY outside my window!" I put my shoes on in anticipation of my running outside with a huge flashlight (which I don't have) to shine on them. I contemplated calling 3-1-1 with a noise complaint.

I ended up doing nothing but sitting back down on my couch, watching the movie (can't remember what it was) sporadically while getting back up constantly to peer out at what the car-sex-people were doing, and if they were gone yet. (Really, I couldn't see much of what they were doing---just a lot of bobbing---but I was anxious for them to leave so I could get back to my peaceful movie-watching!)

When I was in grad school, I read a story in some college lit magazine about how neighbors who complained about loud sex next door were, of course, prudish and sex-starved and jealous and prejudiced and...you name it. I related completely to the angry neighbors annoyed at the loudness!

The car-sex also flashed me back, though, to a time in Austin when I was expecting my lover to show up and he was extremely late, and in the meantime my duplex neighbor and her boyfriend were going at it---LOUDLY (and saying stupid things). My lover called, and I told him, "I'm sick of listening to them! I'm about to bang on the wall if you don't get over here right NOW!" He cutely was worried about me being rude to them---"No, don't do that!" (And then hurried his late ass over to calm me down!) :)

Should I be pissed at obnoxious people parking in front of my house to have sex? I think in general that yes, I should. Being good-natured about others having a good time is kindly, indeed. But then there's the, "I'm doing my own thing in my own house, don't intrude on it" part of it. (Or, more specifically, "If you're going to be fucking and I'm not, then do it QUIETLY as long as you're right next door or right across the street," dammit!) ;p


In semi-related news: In the past week I've had two pretty graphic dreams---one about sitting on the parents' couch and not being able to stop smiling; one about somebody (not me) waking up the parents in the next room. ;p

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Now THIS is romantic! :)

From the Washington Post:

Marry You? Just Ax Me

One of the lesser-known reasons behind the opposition to same-sex
marriage: The gays are going to totally upstage the straights when it
comes to outrageous, attention-getting public marriage proposals. We
got a little dose of this toward the end of D.C. Capital Pride Week
when Joe Matessa, 38, proposed to Billy Molasso, 37, at an outdoor
screening of the Joan Crawford kitsch-horror classic "Strait-Jacket"
at Hillwood Estate Friday, in front of 300 people waving
glitter-covered plastic hatchets (Crawford plays an ax murderer) and
wire hangers. (Matessa, full disclosure, works in ad sales at The
Post; his boyfriend is a professor at GWU. They'll have a commitment
ceremony in the fall.) JumboTron? How quaint.


Really, I find this incredibly romantic!! This is exactly how I'd love to be proposed to!

Monday, June 16, 2008

A shot in the dark, a punch in the stomach

A couple of days ago I caught for the first time Adrian Grenier's HBO doc, "Shot in the Dark," about trying to get in touch with his father. (Grenier is the young star of "Entourage"; he also appeared as the boyfriend in "The Devil Wears Prada.")

Grenier was conceived in 1975 of two hippie parents. Basically, the dad wanted to be with the mom; the mom was torn---at the time the baby was conceived, the dad was living in a rooming house with five other guys. He said he loved her, but when she asked him where they would live once the baby was born, he couldn't figure anything out. She dumped him. (In the doc, she mentions that the father was a Leo, and that she repeatedly asked him, "Are you a lion or a lamb?" His passivity was unattractive to her at the time, and he remains passive nearly 30 years later.)

Grenier's doc is, for the most part pleasant and unhurtful. There's a bit about the dad's new wife hanging up on Grenier when he calls---she's been unable to have kids, and Grenier reminds her of that pain, plus his presence invokes the fear that Grenier's mother still has a hold on the dad. She and Grenier later meet and work this out, thank goodness.

I was watching the whole thing, taking it all in... It was mild, so I wasn't paying complete attention. Then there was a jolt at the end. There was a subtitle: "Reunion: Part 1." Still cinema verite, Adrian's dad drives up in a suburban mall parking lot, where Adrian is waiting for him. Dad gets out: "I'm sorry you came all this way. Sorry. You shouldn't have come. I have my own life now. I don't know why you're here. Maybe you can sight-see or something. Sorry. This isn't going to work." He gets back in the car, and Adrian looks after him in shock, then goes over to the camera-man and starts sobbing---"Did he just say that?" I'd watched the whole doc, coming to the conclusion that the dad was a nice guy...and then I was completely horrified by this ending. Thinking, "No, he didn't just say that." It felt like someone had just punched me in my stomach, and I started crying.

It was a trick. As the film itself had shown, Adrian and his dad had indeed had a pleasant reunion in actuality. The "rejection" bit was a fake thing that had also been alluded to earlier: "Wouldn't it have been awful if you'd been a real jerk?" (After the fake bad ending, there was also a fake hyper-happy ending.)

Best of wishes to Adrian and his dad. But what the fake bad ending reminded me of was a time back in Austin, a few years after my girlfriend and I had been broken up. We met up again unexpectedly at a club and hung out all night until closing. After getting along all night, we started to walk arm-and-arm back to her car---and then all of a sudden she dropped my arm and said, "This isn't going to work," and walked away.

Talk about a punch in the stomach. I actually threw up afterwards, not from drinking but from the cruelty of it.

That awful "girlfriend thing" happened back in 1998, I think it was. I'd never experienced anything like it before, or since, until I watched Grenier's "Shot in the Dark" last week, and re-experienced the same feeling... (Only his turned out to be staged, thank goodness. I felt so grateful and relieved when the explanatory titles came on.)

Julie's last post here flashed me back to that nausea of thinking you know someone, thinking you have some sort of connection, even if it's a truce of a connection--maybe the two of you can't get along, but at least you come to a detente and decide not to hurt each other further... only to have the other person suddenly punch you in your gut for no reason. What happened in Grenier's documentary was fiction, but it keeps happening to me in real life. I remain stunned by how cruel, and false, people can actually be.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

There'll be no Mozart tonight!

Usually I think this kind of thing is a bit too precious, but I came across this "Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall" (1962) clip by accident, and was accidentally charmed!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hot town, summer in the city...

Summer in the City (by the Lovin' Spoonful)

Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn't it a pity
Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city

All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head

But at night it's a different world
Go out and find a girl
Come-on come-on and dance all night
Despite the heat it'll be alright

And babe, don't you know it's a pity
That the days can't be like the nights
In the summer, in the city
In the summer, in the city

Cool town, evening in the city
Dressing so fine and looking so pretty
Cool cat, looking for a kitty
Gonna look in every corner of the city
Till I'm wheezing like a bus stop
Running up the stairs, gonna meet you on the rooftop

But at night it's a different world
Go out and find a girl
Come-on come-on and dance all night
Despite the heat it'll be alright

And babe, don't you know it's a pity
That the days can't be like the nights
In the summer, in the city
In the summer, in the city

Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn't it a pity
Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city

All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head

But at night it's a different world
Go out and find a girl
Come-on come-on and dance all night
Despite the heat it'll be alright

And babe, don't you know it's a pity
That the days can't be like the nights
In the summer, in the city
In the summer, in the city

It's been horrible the last couple of days here, truly dirty and gritty! They've been closing schools at noon this week and no one's even venturing out at night (much less meeting girls on rooftops)! And so---I love this song! I first heard it back in the early '80s when I was a 16-year-old with my first car (a red Ford Pinto) listening to oldies on the AM radio (the only radio station I could get aside from sports and talk and country)... Back then, I thought this song seemed "sooo New York." And now that I live here, I STILL think it's very much sooooo "New York!" I love even the nasty heat of this town!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I deserve a paper plate!

A few days ago I saw this ad on TV, and I wrote down the line I thought I had just heard (but couldn't quite be sure 'cause it was so insane)...

"I deserve a paper plate that's as strong as I am!"

Sure enough, I wasn't dreaming:

To contact this company and let them know how ridiculous this ad campaign is:

p.s. For any sexist guys out there wondering why I'm being so uptight, try this for a second---put yourself in the place of the dumb women in that ad, and see how YOU feel after watching it. I had a similar argument with a young male neighbor back in the '80s, when the "Spuds McKenzie" ads were popular. I thought they were incredibly sexist and stupid, but he thought they were funny... So I had to plant the anarchic notion: "What if, in the ads, Spuds were a FEMALE dog, and GUYS were hanging all over her?" Neighbor: "Well, that wouldn't be funny."

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Ghost of Zelda

(another Leo, on the Cancer cusp: July 24)

This week I've been reading two biographies by Nancy Milford that I picked up months ago at the Strand: "Zelda" and the 2001 bio of Edna St. Vincent Millay. (I'd read the Zelda Fitzgerald bio for the first time probably 20 years ago.) Here's a quote in the Zelda book from husband Scott in the 1940s, long after he and his wife had found it impossible to live together:

Perhaps fifty percent of our friends and relations will tell you in good faith that it was my drinking that drove Zelda mad, and the other half would assure you that it was her madness that drove me to drink. Neither of these judgements means much of anything. These two groups of friends and relations would be unanimous in saying that each of us would have been much better off without the other. The irony is that we have never been more in love with each other in all our lives. She loves the alcohol on my lips. I cherish her most extravagant hallucinations. In the end, nothing really had much importance. We destroyed ourselves. But in all honesty, I never thought we destroyed each other.

And here's another incident from the book that struck me. In '46, 6 years after Scott's death and 2 years before her own, Zelda visited friends in the East. When it was time to go back to her home in Montgomery, Zelda and the family were all sitting on the porch waiting to leave. The family was getting anxious as the train's departure time neared and Zelda seemed in no hurry to go:

Zelda said we didn't need to worry, the train would not be on time anyway. We laughed and said, perhaps, but it was a risk we didn't intend to take. 'Oh, no,' she said, 'it will be all right. Scott has told me. Can't you see him sitting here beside me?' The Biggses were speechless, neither knowing what to say or do. At last Judge Biggs insisted that they leave. When we got to the station we had a half hour wait. The train was going to be late.

Many people seem to remember/want to remember only the glamorous early years of the Fitzgeralds, the years just after they'd met and had a brief, glorious time being feted in New York City. For instance, I just did a search online for a photo of Zelda as she looked in the '40s, after years of mental problems had worn her out, and couldn't find a thing. I did, though, come across numerous photos of modern-day couples with fluorescent teeth and blank eyes, too often posing pseudo-provocatively entwined on leather couches in LA, their photos bearing captions like, "The Modern-Day Scott and Zelda," with the following descriptions usually saying something along the lines of, "Jessica met Topher at the X Games, where she was doing publicity for his edgy band Snap982. They work hard and play hard!"

I wonder if any of those utterly generic and depressing people (or those writing blurbs about them) actually have any idea what it's like to feel deeply connected to someone, even after years of separation and sadness and pain... if they're capable of recognizing another's spirit (rather than their "big tits" or "big guns").

The Fitzgeralds, with their deep knowledge of each other and old-fashioned fealty, break my heart.

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
---Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Leos Rising

Despite this uber-gay "Time" magazine cover, congrats to Barack Obama (Leo--August 4) for winning the Democratic nomination. Of course I'm going to vote for him, despite my preference for Hillary. I've always voted on issues, not on personality. (Please: Walter Mondale. Michael Dukakis. John Kerry. Despite them, I was always politely there.)

I was heartened by being able to compare the speeches given by Obama and John McCain tonight. McCain's face was a horrible rictus. I liked the guy back in 2000. In fact, in the Texas Republican primary in 2000, when Gore didn't have any competition in his Democratic primary and so was safe, I crossed over to vote for McCain over George Bush. McCain USED to be a "maverick." Since 2000, though, he's sold his soul to suck up to George Bush and the right-wing of the party. I have no respect left for him.

A few weeks ago, I was proclaiming dramatically, "Oh, Obama is going to be just like McGovern..." (Because of the '72 candidate's similar overt liberalism and overt appeal to young people, which came to naught---since historically young people never show up at the polls at the same rate as other age categories.) Obama's as liberal as McGovern, sure... but he's also "cooler" and tougher. Truly, he's got nothing at all to say, and McCain really does "deserve" the job more, based on qualifications, as did Hillary... but things are so completely fucked up in America right now that I think people might just throw up their hands and vote for Obama for the hell of it. I hope they do. What an exciting experiment!

In other "Leo rising"/"exciting experiment" news:

Samantha Ronson (Leo--August 7)--- Also a case of: What the hell!

Kathy Griffin has her "gays," I have my "Leos" that I wish all luck to!

Monday, June 02, 2008

"I love how your eyes close..."

Along with "Lay Back" and "Near You," here's one of my absolute favorite songs, by the Paris Sisters, 1961.

Creepy Stalker Neil Maciejewski

A couple of days ago, I posted web"master" Neil Maciejewski's phone number, after his umpteenth creepy post to this blog---asking people to call him and tell him to quit his ongoing stalking of me, my parents, my friends, and members of the Joan Crawford message board that I moderate...

In response, Maciejewski chose to contact a 17-year-old male Joan fan from the Joan Crawford message board, saying that he had a private detective on the case and was going to prosecute both this kid and me for giving out his phone number... That's pretty psycho for a couple of reasons.

One...Neil Maciejewski posted both his home phone number and home address publicly on Facebook. Which is where I got the information. Now, how on earth can someone prosecute anyone for "revealing" information that the person already posted himself?

Two...This teenager that Neil Maciejewski e-mailed has been receiving numerous unwanted e-mails from Maciejewski for months now and has repeatedly asked Maciejewski to stop e-mailing him, even having to go as far as changing his e-mail address to avoid Maciejewski's messages. He had nothing to do with the Facebook phone number, yet Maciejewski immediately looked for an excuse to e-mail him...

Neil Maciejewski: STOP YOUR OBSESSIVE STALKING, you psycho creep! (You constantly and publicly claim that you have such a healthy home-life... If so, then perhaps it would be truly healthier if you spent more time participating in your alleged "healthy" relationships than bothering strangers online. From the way you behave on the Internet, you'd think you lived alone in your mother's basement with only pictures of the American Idol contestants and Madonna for company.)