Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Julie: Are You Sincere?

Two weeks ago, you say "Let's try." I'm all for that.

So where the fuck are you?

As I mentioned before, this blog is not the forum for our personal communications. My e-mail addresses are not a secret to you. If you do indeed want to try, then e-mail me privately, and stop this public bullshit.

I really do have the patience of a saint in your case, but I'm also getting fed up with the constant bullshit. Don't say you want contact and then disappear for two weeks.

Act with some fucking integrity, like an adult and not a 19-year-old. (Yeah, I've read the literature about being mentally blocked at a certain age. Get...the...fuck...over...it. Seriously. Stop being a poster-child for gay/trans regression. That kind of stereotype is old and boring as shit.)

Kiki and Herb: Total Eclipse of the Heart



Justin Bond was one of the reasons why I moved to New York City. His "Kiki" character is extraordinary---an aging diva, back on the road, attempting to relive her past... (Why was this an inspiration to move to New York? The act was psychologically complicated and clever. I wanted to be in a place where people were coming up with this sort of thing.)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Lindsay and Samantha: July '08 in NYC



Trying to catch a cab. Bizarre to me because of its mundane surface milling about, while at the same time feeling like it could get out of control at any second.

Good Times Coming/Feel the Sun



"There was something about that summer
wasn't it hot
We laughed a lot that summer
la-di-da
Laughing at the good times coming
Laughing at the good times coming in..."

The older I get, the more I love Paul. And his ability to hook into utterly happy feelings. I love the above song, from 1986.

(BTW: For his 66th birthday this past June, Paul traveled with his gal-pal across the US...on Route 66. Amarillo and Oklahoma City were two of his stops; in one Texas shop, the store owner asked him if anyone had ever told him he looked like Paul McCartney... Turned out, the man had named his son "Jude," after Paul's song...)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Pound is Sinking

One of my favorite Paul McCartney songs. From his not-yet-acknowledged-as-classic 1982 album, "Tug of War."

My Favorite Julie



Is there any song sexier than this?

The Good Fight?

Just in from the AP:

GORI, Georgia – Russia said Monday it had begun withdrawing from the conflict zone in Georgia, but it held fast to key positions and sent some of its troops in the opposite direction — closer to the Georgian capital....

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It's an odd psychological phenomenon for me to again read stuff like that, having spent the formative years of my youth with Russian/US conflict as the news backdrop. (I was 15 when Reagan got elected in 1980, and our countries' mutual aggression was at the forefront of everyone's consciousness until the USSR's dissolution in, what was it, '91?)

Since, especially, 9/11, "terrorism" has been the foremost "evil" that the US government was battling. (Invading Iraq was completely squirrelly---absolutely no cause for us to ever be there. Saddam, dictator that he was, was secular and his country harbored no Muslim terrorists.) So, for the past 7 or 8 years, there's been this "shadow war" going on---few, if any, clearly defined battles, just clandestine bombings and our various retaliations (and our sleazy tortures at prisoner-of-war camps).

So, the "odd psychological phenomenon" now for me is that I have a bizarre feeling of relief (almost) at the big Russian bear coming out of hibernation. A clear-cut case of their aggression in Georgia, a clear-cut enemy in full military uniform, with tanks---rather than secretive turban-clad operatives running around hiding in caves and sending retarded women to bomb marketplaces. (Now, obviously, I'm not "relieved" at what Russia is currently doing. It's scary. However, it's also a known quantity that the US can fight against, up-front and head-to-head. With a sense of moral "rightness," unlike what my country has been doing in Iraq for the past 8 years. The US has been the dominant world military power since 1991---the lack of any official "check" to us since then led to a GREAT abuse of power with our invasion of Iraq.)

I completely decry what Russia is now doing in Georgia. Yet it's also a wake-up call to the US to concentrate on the battles that matter rather than wasting resources occupying a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Picking Me Up

Recently, I've been doing temp work at some odd hours for various law firms around town (midnight to 4 or 6 or 8, stuff like that). After-hours, the companies pay for cars to come get you and take you home if you end before 6. Which made me feel important when I first started doing work like this last year, until I realized that there's a whole-sub-industry of night office workers out there, most of whom get the same "ritzy" treatment! (As a side-note, let me just say that there's nothing worse than dragging your bedraggled up-all-night ass home on the subway/bus at 8am amidst all of the fresh morning people just heading in!)

The types of drivers vary. Some are stoic and don't play the radio or speak at all other than to get your destination address. Others chat on their head-sets with their friends the whole time. Some will chit-chat with you. This past week, I had one Middle Eastern driver who was nice and friendly; we chatted for the first 20 minutes of the drive or so: Yes, I was fairly new here. Hadn't done temp work since I first arrived last year. (Interesting to learn from him that this is the worst he's seen the economy in 12 years of driving---his passenger list was really down this summer. It helps mentally that I can blame the poor economy for not finding a full-time job!) Just came to NYC to try something new. The driver lived on Staten Island, had been in the area for 14 years, had just gone to Atlantic City for the weekend with a friend...

And there's where things took "The Turn." Atlantic City, I should see it. (Yes, definitely, I'd heard so much about it.) I needed someone to show me around. By the way, how big was my apartment? 2-1/2 bedrooms? Oh, then I must have a husband and/or kids. No? I live in that big place all by myself? I really needed to see Atlantic City. Did I have a boyfriend? (No, I'm single. And I'm gay.) CLUNK. No more conversation for the rest of the ride!

Now, I don't know that it was "gay prejudice" that stopped the conversation. I tend to think it was just "unavailable female---don't want to bother talking any more." That's happened to me a few times over the years. Most recently, just after I'd first moved into my current apartment last spring and was at a Union City store bargaining for furniture. The first time I went, I chatted pleasantly and at length with the owner. He spent a lot of time with me, showing me most of his store, and I ended up getting a good deal on a bed; I came back the next week to haggle over a small dining-room set to order from a catalogue. The owner, also Middle Eastern, was again very friendly as we went page-by-page. But this second visit also brought "The Turn," which started out easy: How big of a table did I need? (I started to describe the size of the space available, and that I wanted a small table with 4 chairs...) For just me? For me and my husband? For some kids? For me and my boyfriend? (I continued trying to focus on the fact that I needed a small table with 4 chairs...) Oh, so it's just me? No husband? No boyfriend? I didn't say I was gay this time, but I did try a little mental experiment: "It's for me and three other people." CLUNK. End of solicitousness. The catalogue almost snapped shut. He didn't really have anything I might like after all!

Another time that stands out, I was on a bus in San Francisco, and a young college guy sat down next to me. All charm, all chat for 10 minutes or so. He's an interesting person, I thought. Until I mentioned I was gay. CLUNK. His face actually "fell" and he said, "Oh." And then shut up completely and physically moved to another seat a few stops later! (Again, this was San Fran, and he was a young "boho" type---I don't think it was gay prejudice.)

If I'm in the mood, I actually like passing time by chatting with strangers and learning about their lives. Last summer, for instance, I spent hours in a Chelsea park talking with an old woman who randomly sat on my bench while I was eating my hot-dogs and people-watching---I ended up learning about the neighborhood, as well as her grocery-shopping habits and about her daughters and grandkids, and met two of her friends from the 'hood that showed up to chat. (One daughter has a house on Long Island, and actor Danny Aiello is a friend of her family. The woman showed me photos of Aiello at their house!)

So I'm usually a bit shocked when someone blatantly shuts up or physically MOVES once he finds out that I'm not a potential "date"! Such an odd, single-minded purpose for chatting to begin with...and then the utter rudeness!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Country Boy Can Survive

I have complete admiration for these men. (Years ago, when I was on a bus in San Francisco, some thugs got on and didn't want to pay their dollar fare. We riders sat there helplessly for too long waiting for the dumb-fucks to argue with the driver. At the time, I wished that some good ol' boy was there to stand up and kick those thugs' asses. This kind of thing wouldn't ever have happened in Texas---where men are men and don't let punks get away with their shit.) I'm a gay woman, but I love to see men act like real men.


Delta Dawn

I forget what year this country song came out, '71 or '72? But it was a teenaged Tanya Tucker, and some of us little country kids were subsequently singing it at the request of our parents! (The first song I ever sang publicly! I was, oh, 5!)


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Judge For Yourself

Just released a couple of days ago... the US presidential candidates' favorite songs.

Barack Obama's top 10:

1. Fugees - Ready Or Not
2. Marvin Gaye - What's Going On
3. Bruce Springsteen - I'm On Fire
4. The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter
5. Nina Simone - Sinnerman
6. Kanye West - Touch The Sky
7. Frank Sinatra - You'd Be So Easy To Love
8. Aretha Franklin - Think
9. U2 - City of Blinding Lights
10. will.i.am - Yes We Can

John McCain's top 10:

1. ABBA - Dancing Queen
2. Roy Orbison - Blue Bayou
3. ABBA - Take A Chance On Me
4. Merle Haggard - If We Make It Through December
5. Dooley Wilson - As Time Goes By
6. The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations
7. Louis Armstrong - What A Wonderful World
8. Frank Sinatra - I've Got You Under My Skin
9. Neil Diamond - Sweet Caroline
10. The Platters - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Given that the guys are going to put out phony stuff (Obama's "Yes I Can," for example), I'd still like to believe that they're at least a little sincere... Good lord, why else would John McCain put "Dancing Queen" at the top of his list??!

Based on the song list only, I vote for McCain. Thank you for naming "As Time Goes By" and "If We Make It Through December." (THOSE at least seemed like personal rather than politically motivated choices.)




Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Knowing Me, Knowing You

ABBA, shallow??

With the success of the recent "Mamma Mia" film (based on the long-running Broadway play based on ABBA songs), I've read a thing or two in the New York press lately about ABBA songs being merely "popular" and/or "shallow"... Are you kidding me? (What dumb 23-year-olds or willfully ignorant PC 40-year-olds are writing this stuff?)

For example: "Knowing Me, Knowing You" (video below) and "The Winner Takes It All"... Shallow? I find these songs to be pretty hard-core emotional stuff.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Happy Birthday!

My favorite birthday song!


Best of...wha?

A few days ago, a member of the "Best of Everything" Joan Crawford message board was in Bedford, Texas, getting her motorcycle license.

She was chatting with one of her classmates; he asked her name, and when she told him, he said, out of the blue: "Are you part of that Joan Crawford site? 'Best of...whatever'?" Turned out he was a reader of the website and the message board and recognized her name!

What the hell! :)

I've been approached in public maybe three times: "Are you Stephanie?" But that was at specific Joan Crawford events, where I'd guess that maybe a website reader or two would be there and recognize me from the photos I'd posted on the site...

What are the chances of a random guy recognizing your message-board name out in Bedford, Texas, in a setting that has nothing to do with Joan Crawford, though??

How cool is that?!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

In Today's News

When I opened up my Yahoo mail today, I saw some pretty stupid stuff in what's supposed to be the "News" section. These weren't in an "Entertainment News" section, but rather, just in the main "News News" part.

(1) Bernie Mac Dies at Age 50

(2) McConaughey to Plant Son's Placenta in Orchard

(3) Senator. Vice Presidential Nominee. Leading Presidential Candidate. Political Outcast.

------------

(1) Who the fuck actually cares if Bernie Mac is dead? The guy was pure filler.

(2) ...... [Someone decided this should even be mentioned ANYWHERE? Fire the little intern fuck---immediately.]

(3) While John Edwards' affair was being endlessly "analyzed" on MSNBC/CNN/FOX Friday afternoon, the Russians were attacking Georgia, a US ally. All of the stations would briefly mention the "Georgia thing," then go back to their full-coverage "analysis" of John Edwards: His wife has cancer! (And she was in remission when he had the affair!) What if he'd been the Democratic nominee! OH MY GOD!

Gene Simmons Solo Album: See You Tonight



Good lord, but the drama that ensued in my junior high KISS-world when the 1978 solo albums came out! There were judgments flung about hither and yon RE which of the four you chose (or could afford) to buy and what that said about you as a person; which of the albums "rocked" or didn't.

While "rocking" wasn't an issue for me personally (I just wanted to see the individual band members' SOULS), I remember having an argument in the junior-high cafeteria lunch-line with a self-proclaimed FORMER KISS fan who said he wouldn't listen to KISS any more because NONE of the solo albums rocked! (Me: "You KNOW that Ace Frehley's album rocks!")

The solo KISS albums that I bought (or, rather, had given to me at my request) were Gene's and Ace's. Did I regret my choices? Nah. I later heard Paul's and Peter's albums at my friend Debbie's house--- Paul's just sounded like generic KISS. Peter's, like the blues/soul that I'd read he was inspired by and that I absolutely was not interested in when I was 13. (And am still not today.)

Ace's, on the other hand, had the completely catchy, driven "New York Groove" on it, plus the advantage of his being a previous dark horse in the band---what he had to say musically was different and interesting, a lot harder and less melodic and more thrashingly guitar-propelled than what the band had previously put out.

And Gene, I had just always liked the best. (Any time we'd dress up, I was Gene; I had a Gene-face cake for one birthday; I had a Gene solo album T-shirt made at the local mall.) Maybe because of songs like "Goin' Blind" on the "Hotter Than Hell" album---"I'm 93, you're 16 / and I think I'm goin' blind..." Or "God of Thunder," which opened with eerie, demonic kids' giggling. He always wrote darker than Paul, and had odder themes. They often weren't as good songs tunefully, but were more interesting to listen to lyrically and atmospherically. (There was nothing more fun or atmospheric when I was 13 than listening to the demonic KISS in a candle-lit bedroom at a sleep-over.)

Above is my favorite song, "See You Tonight," from the Gene album, performed later at some unplugged venue. Completely non-dark and uncharacteristically, for Gene, Beatle-esque. I loved it at the time, and I've still been hearing it in my head now for the past 30 years.

In a side note: The junior high girlfriend that I'd listen to KISS with---she went on to become a real-life groupie and actually slept with Gene Simmons. When I met up with her again last year here in the NY area for the first time in over 20 years, I expressed admiration for that feat. She said, logically, "There's nothing great about sleeping with rock stars." But I, nonetheless, still think that there is. Anybody can sleep with local guys and get married to them and live in the same town they grew up in. Not anybody can go out on the road with rock stars and sleep with Gene Simmons. (Lord knows, I couldn't even get into Julian Lennon's hotel room, though I made it to the outside of his door!) My friend did something extraordinary.

Friday, August 08, 2008

"Dear God" by XTC



1986's "Skylarking" by XTC. One of the best albums of all time.

1. Summer's Cauldron
2. Grass
3. Meeting Place, The
4. That's Really Super, Supergirl
5. Ballet For a Rainy Day
6. 1,000 Umbrellas
7. Season Cycle
8. Earn Enough For Us
9. Big Day
10. Another Satellite
11. Mermaid Smiled
12. Man Who Sailed Around His Soul, The
13. Dying
14. Sacrificial Bonfire
15. Dear God

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

KISS 1976: Hard Luck Woman

When I was a kid back in Azle, Texas, we didn't have a concept of "greasepaint" makeup or anything, didn't even know that stores sold such a thing. So when we discovered that we all liked KISS, we tried to invent ways to create their makeup on our own faces. The white part = toothpaste plus baby powder slapped on top. (It stung and was splotchy.) The black part = magic marker. (What a big ol' un-wash-off-able mess!)

Below is one of my all-time favorite KISS songs, from the 1976 "Rock and Roll Over" album. (Someone's little brother was always Peter Criss!)

Monday, August 04, 2008

Walking on a wave's chicane

When I was younger (so much younger than today), I used to be a real poet. I'd stop dead in the street or at parties or during any show to write down what was filtering through. I wrote hundreds of pieces from '82 to 87. Then more got triggered when I was in my MA writing program in SF in the mid-90s. Stuff has been relatively slow coming since then.

A phrase would get stuck in my head...and I'd walk around for hours (or sit around for hours) chanting it mentally, then later when I got the chance, getting it all down on paper---whipping into shape what had already appeared subconsciously. (Back when I was a kid and stuck in my country home, the TV on in the background at 3am would provide inspiration.)

The older I've gotten, the less such "muse gifts" have just appeared magically to me. I've been doing other stuff, concentrating on work, or hard relationships, or the Joan website...I haven't devoted very much time at all to poetry, emptying myself for it. My receiving gifts have suffered accordingly.

A couple of days ago, though, a title started showing up in my head: "Ghost of a Suicide." Followed by "Rust of a razor blade/Slip of a knot." I knew all of it came from somewhere else. Probably Plath. Most of my books are still back in my mom's garage in Texas, so I couldn't immediately look the references up. But in the meantime, I started working with what I had. Here's something very rough, maybe one-quarter of what it will eventually turn out to be:

Ghost of a Suicide

Rust of a razor blade, slip of a knot
(or of your tongue--
ham-sandwich gag for your throaty laugh)

They fished you out of the ocean once
Rusted trident in your side
Plastic drink-rings embedded in your bloated wrists

What things have slithered past you as you slept.



After writing this, I found the Plath poem "Electra on the Azalea Path," with the lines:

I am the ghost of an infamous suicide
My own blue razor rusting in my throat...

I'd been channeling, but not quite copying. I wanted to put "walking on a wave's chicane" in my poem, but that's already been done, in a beautiful song by ELO:

Saturday, August 02, 2008

McCain's Idiotic Ad/Obama in Berlin



While I think Obama is relatively shallow, what I think about him personally has nothing to do with this utterly idiotic McCain ad.

Yes, I'm pissed that Obama's "rock star" image got him the Democratic nomination with the support of milque-toast hyper-liberal democrats, who for some reason were uber-critical of Hillary for no real reason. (I absolutely am disgusted by MSNBC and Keith Olbermann, Mika Brszinski (sp?), and Chris Matthews now. They're idiots.)

But when it comes down to it, Obama's positions on the issues used to be much, much closer to mine than John McCain's. McCain is one of the most right-wing Senators, despite his occasional realistic views on immigration, or campaign-finance reform.

What's creepy about both candidates: McCain (a torture victim himself) used to be against torture; now he's for it. Obama used to be against federal wiretapping; now he's for it. And, just today, Obama announced that he's suddenly for off-shore drilling---when he used to be against it.

Both McCain and Obama are phony scumbags as campaigners. Though I did get goosebumps when I saw Obama speak in Berlin.



He seems to promise so much goodness and hope...You want to believe, but then you look at the fakeness of what he's been promising and not promising on the campaign trail...There's just slightly enough "there" there to keep you hoping.

I'd like to be proud if he were our President. But not if he follows the same old blind pro-Corporate, pro-Israel policies. Someone, anyone, has got to break free of that old way of thinking. Big Business is completely profit-oriented. Israel is completely an apartheid state, with Israelis and then the Palestinians who do the work for them.