It's understandable to get depressed and be emotional these days - my God, I would be worried for someone if they WEREN'T flipping out. Between the news and the panic as well as the indifference to a certain segment of the human community, I have been beside myself for days. There will be better days ahead but right now we're staying at home. I'm now on Day 18.
But yesterday I logged on to Mark Kanemura's Instagram feed (I'd been hearing about it for days) - he throws an amazing dance party starting at 2pm PT / 5pm ET and the positivity and joy that emanate from him is infectious (in the not lethal way, of course!) :)
I needed this emotional injection of positivity, energy, and joy, more than I can say. This man is provided the best source of healing for the grieving I am going through (click here for a great article about the grief we're all going through).
It's 30 minutes of aerobic fun but frankly I was having a late afternoon nap when I logged on and didn't even get up at all. It threw me back to the mid 90s gay bar/club scene here in NYC - the same fun energy that kept me going back to Splash, Paladium, Limelight and more is present here....
Log on. Enjoy it. Move with Mark. Or just listen. I can't promise your life will be changed, but mine was. And I thank you, Mark for this.
And remember: You Are Loved.
I don't really talk politics here too often but I have to say that watching candidates tearing each other up during the election process is a huge turn-off. I know that politics is a game of dirty pool and if one doesn't talk like that about their opponent, then another one will... and ultimately, it seems to me, the American public will become disinterested unless the whole thing plays out like some old timey wrestling show.
I would say that's a very modern thing, but history teaches us that no, that's not true; it has been like this for most of our history... and probably has been like this since time began. Maybe that's just human nature. I don't want it to be, but I'm pretty sure it is.
Thankfully there are are a lot of things that are a lot more interesting to me that are also human nature - love, compassion, honesty, humor. I want us to focus on those, but, admittedly, to most people, those things are not that thrilling. At least not as thrilling as some old timey wrestling show.
I made this graphic in 2016 mainly because I'm a huge (HUGE) fan of the 1972 movie, WHAT'S UP DOC and I thought it would be funny if Eunice ("I am not A Eunice Burns, I am THE Eunice Burns!") ran for President. It worked out great due to the Sanders campaign, of course. This popped up in my FB feed over the weekend and I thought I would share it with you because it makes me giggle.
I think I need as much of a sense of humor and I can get these days and I'll bet you feel the same. Hang on!
The strength that my friends show to their community has been an inspiration.
Sooo... thanks. :)
It's Sunday, I'm about to go to the gym and then to the Apple store to manage my eighteen billion Apple devices (really, it's just my phone, my newer laptop and my older laptop and an external harddrive that isn't behaving right - all have one or more wackadoodle issues and I'm going in to see how I can resolve them all in short order) and then spend the afternoon cleaning the apartment that we live in that has gotten a bit ... casual (I think that's the nicest word I can think of) over the past couple weeks.
But, while I'm doing all of that, ponder these things:
When did New Yorkers decide it's OK to throw out decades of conventional behavior and walk on the left side of the sidewalk? It used to be tourists, now it's practically everyone. Walk on the right, and nobody runs into each other. Why is this hard to grasp?
Does everyone switching sides on the sidewalk auger some kind of spiritual shift that's going on or are we, as I have often thought, simply living in a parallel universe since 2016? (I miss the universe that I used to live in where Hillary Clinton and Obama were considered awesome - I want to go back to that one and leave the one we're all stuck in... perhaps David Bowie is alive over there too... damn you, Hadron collider!).
In the recent STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, Fran Drescher should have been one of the voices that Rey hears when she's down for the count - "Raaaaaaaay... get up and get me and Mr. Sheffield some CAWWWWfeee"... that would revive her much faster than hearing Alec Guiness. :)
I was born in 1964 and technically am a Boomer, I guess, although I've never identified with the Boomers much. Since the end of the Boomers and the start of Gen X are fuzzy (no two sources agree, naturally) I have found I tend to side more with Gen X. Douglas Coupland got it right. A recent Medium article gets it even right-er. The last sentence sums it up for me: "You can just go ahead and play Prince at all our funerals." True that. Because Prince was the personification of Gen X - the man who sung about being Gen X by never actually singing about Gen X. If you're Gen X, I think you'll get that. Also: other than the Coupland book, we've been largely ignored. We kind of like it that way mainly because we're used to it.
Finally, Happy Palindrome day- 02/ 02 / 2020 - apparently this won't happen again for another hundred years. I'll be 155 then, nearly 156. I might not be in great shape at that point, but who knows? With enough cawwfee and a switch to another universe where humans live to be 500, I might just be getting started!
Have a faboo Sunday and catch you back here tomorrow!
P.S. the photo above has nothing to do with the blog - it's just a pic I snapped Friday night on my way home from work and I thought this blog was as good a time to post it as any. Enjoy, don't steal! I say this because someone on the Facebook snagged a pic I took of Radio City a few weeks ago and passed it off as his own. When I pointed out to him that he should give me credit, he claimed to not known that I was the photog. I don't sort of mind if it gets used, really, but just give me credit (and don't play dumb with me when you've had to go into Photoshop and edit out the watermark... sheesh!)
I remember a time three years ago when I got on the 7 bus to go to East Harlem to meet the Mister for dinner. I transferred to the 116 bus and decided to pull out my phone and txt that I was most of the way there.
In a sudden panic I realized that my phone was not on me. I thought I must have left it on the 7 which was miraculously still behind the 116.
I got on in a lather searching franticly for a dropped phone. Everyone saw the look on my face and knew what I was doing. One guy suggested that I call my phone.
Now, being a New Yorker, my first thought was "how can I call myself without my phone?" .... but then I realized the guy was offering me his phone to use. To me. A total stranger. And not just him, but literally five others on the bus were holding their phones out for me to use. In the middle of a bus on a Saturday night.
I quickly called myself, and, hearing no buzz (Im always on silent mode) realized that it wasnt there. After many thank yous I got off the bus and just happened to catch a bus going back the other direction (towards my apt). I went all the way back home and was grateful that Id just left it on the kitchen counter and that it was just an absent minded professor moment.
But it reminded me that the bill of goods we are sold by the politicians, the media (fake AND real!) and the internet - that people are selfish and terrible, the world is hell and everyone hates each other - that bill of goods is just garbage. NO SALE! (as my friend Rolondo might say)
Again and again I see people helping each other even in the big bad city.
Sure, that was just a little moment in time and would appear to be meaningless- but I still remember it three years later and it means something.
People ARE kind and that maybe that kindness can last longer than September 12.. Or December 26... Or, well you get the idea.
May all your missing phones be on your kitchen counter, and may there be those around you to help you find that out.
I first visited New York on a stop over from Minneapolis to London in September 1986. I loved the city but felt that it was too big and too... overwhelming for me to ever live here. Looking back at that feeling now, I am happy to have been wrong.
Five years later, in 1991, I was invited to a wedding in New Jersey and spent the better part of a week visiting NYC. What a difference five years made. I fell in love with this burg during that week and started to think about how I could live here. I spent the next couple years in graduate school in Chicago plotting my 'in' to New York all the while visiting about three to four times a year, making more friends with each trip.
I first moved to New York in February 1994 just before my 30th birthday. I sublet a friend's room while he was on tour with THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES. It was out in Astoria and I was temping for Burson Marsteller located just above Union Square so the commute was kind of a drag, but who cared? I was living in NYC at long last!
I spent from 1994 - 1998 having the time of my life going on auditions, doing a couple of shows, taking mostly terrible temp jobs, and teaching 7,8,9 year olds at a NY based children's theater. I also started directing at a children's theater during the summers in Sunnyvale, CA (just south of San Fran) and finding a career path that combined all of my other career paths - event producing - by doing contract work for a non-profit in LA.
I kind of felt like I was cheating on New York by spending so much time with SF and LA but, ultimately, one goes where the opportunities are.
So New York and I broke up. We still loved each other but I needed to see other cities. :)
I ended up moving to LA to tackle more event work - those years were a strange mix of the following:
- I had the most amazing social life EVER!
- I was producing successful, well attended, weekly and annual events that made money and got a lot of press within the LGBT community AND, I feel, made a difference in people's lives.
- I was getting paid for writing both online and off.
- I was contributing to a friend's website business by consulting with his clients on best practices.
- I was occasionally 'temping' at a major entertainment company (this particular assignment is still one of my all time favorite jobs).
- I had a relationship that was great until it wasn't and then ....I was on my own.
- I had so many "Oh my God, I almost just died" driving experiences that I limited my time behind the wheel and became a borderline agoraphobe.
- I missed New York and would take sporadic trips back here, but could not figure out how to work my way back in (at one point, I had a job interview for a cool theater job that would have started on 9/10/01. Probably best that I didn't get that one, huh?).
Eventually, in May 2003 I moved back to NYC. In January 2004 I moved into my current apartment. In February 2005 I started a weekly fundraising Bingo show that lasted ten years and raised a quarter of a million dollars. In February 2006 I worked in my first events job that one could consider "corporate". In 2007 I met a guy I would date for 4 years but, in breaking up with him, I would find a brother. In 2011 I would get my officiant license (marrying people is a source of great joy to me). In 2012 my mother passed away and the circle of friends I developed got me through it in ways that I would never have thought possible. In 2013 I began a corporate events role that took my work and my life to very interesting places (both figurative and literal). In 2016, I met the Mister and I re-discovered my art.
That's 20 years total living in this burg and it's a great city, but you know, sometimes I get grumpy about living here. The subway, the rents, the pace, the hassle. We all know the drill.
But it does feel like home.
And yet, there have been times recently when I could see living elsewhere whether that was due to work or other situations.
Spending a chunk of my current work week in New Jersey has, maybe, given me a renewed appreciation both for living here and also reminded me that there is a world outside worth exploring. Funny that my New York adventure started in New Jersey, so it's kind of come full circle.
Nothing more really to this morning's post than just a simple appreciation for all the things that life has to offer especially the things that have yet to be discovered. :)
Today would have been my mom's **th birthday; it's been nearly 7 since she passed.
I see her in so many parts of my life, and in so much of the world and although I used to feel as though she was hanging around, giving me a push now and then, I think she's finally moved on to other things. And that's a good thing.
I have written about her a lot on this blog and will so again as I write the JOHNS AND MARYS entries, so I'll keep this short today. But I've posted one of my favorite pics of her. I'm standing next to her in a white t shirt (you can see a bit of it) but I wanted to spotlight just her.
You'll notice she's wearing two sets of glasses. I used to wonder about this until I got into my 50s. Now I understand. Time really is the great educator and our experience makes a lightbulb go off about our parents - ah!, we say, that's why they did that thing that seemed so strange back then! :)
May we all have those epiphanies now and then!
Happy Birthday, Mom! smooch.
JOHNS AND MARYS chapters you might have missed:
Good morning and Happy Friday!
About a week ago I managed my first real onsite event for my new job. It was a dinner for retired members of the team and it took place at a beautiful venue in New Jersey. It was also storming pretty hard so it added an extra layer of worry. But, thankfully, it went brilliantly. Two retired members of the company even came up to me at the end of the dinner, shook my hand and said "we saw you working the dinner and we saw what you did - making sure everything was top notch for us. thank you!" It's nice when that happens. :)
Now, I just started this new job in late May and on top of the usual on-boarding and throwing myself into events, I also took a pre-planned trip to LA to reconnect with some people I love and then, later in June took a few days to go to a wedding in my hometown for a woman I have loved/adored for 50 years (which is funny since we are both perpetually 29 <wink>). I'd been planning this trip for a year and a half and it was the culmination of a lot of various threads of my life.
So you might say that it's been an intense past few weeks (to put it mildly! LOL). By the end of that evening, I was, understandably, cumulatively, mentally exhausted by the long haul of it all. Everything had turned out well, but, it was at that point, a matter of getting to a specific point in time to allow myself to exhale.
I called a Lyft to get me back home to Manhattan and the guy showed up in less than 10 minutes. He lives in NYC and had just dropped someone off from NYC so the timing was perfect. I sat in the back of the car, the driver expertly handling traffic, the weather, etc which allowed me to begin the exhaling process. I was home before the next train on NJ Transit would have even left.
It routinely occurs to me that we don't really know the impact we have on others but this night illustrated it brilliantly for me:
To the Lyft driver, perhaps, I was just some guy getting picked up in the rain; a convenient fare.
To me, he was a golden ticket home, to the Mister, to an earlier bedtime than I had anticipated, and a welcome safe ride through tumultuous weather at the end of an emotionally charged sequence of events.
As I exited the cab, I thought that I should say - "I saw what you did, making sure that the ride was safe and swift, thank you", but suddenly I felt a little foolish and overly emotional... but I think he sensed my relief as he jumped out of the car and grabbed my bag from the trunk and flashed me a warm smile, pausing slightly as I fumbled to get my keys out of the bag before driving off.
Life is always difficult. We know this to be true. But it is the small, perhaps even theoretically insignificant, kindnesses that make the difference in this weary world. The kindnesses of the comments, the driver, meant a lot to me on a weary rainy evening.
So the next time you think the little things you do don't make a differences, know that they do, even if you may never know it.
I see you.
I see what you do.
I can think of no better note to end the work week with!