Save The World Feed

The End of the World Club #hiroshima #nagasaki #leonardcohen

What would you do if you knew it was the end of the world? OK that's a dark way to start a blog post on a site about Joy. But, here me out.

In these days of heightened global anxiety, it's something that's crossed my mind occasionally. It seems like world leaders like to play 'chicken' with each other threatening annihilation if they don't get their way while the rest of us sit on the sidelines and engage in political discourse that wouldn't mean a thing if a couple of superpowers got in a Twitter war and ended up pushing a few buttons as they tried to prove to the other who is the 'bigger' man. Sure, in this country, we should vote them out, but there are times lately when I wonder if we'll even make it to those all important November 2020 elections. 

HiroshimablogFor me, this is a topic that gets real every year around now during the anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

What would YOU do if you knew that the bombs were coming in 24 hours and there was no way to stop them? I know the military would have ways to divert them/shoot them down in that time, but let's just imagine - you know you have 24 hours to live - the bomb is coming for your town - how are you going to spend them? 

For me, living in New York, I'm competing with a few million other people who would be trying to get out of town and I don't realistically think that I could get far enough away in those hours to 'get away from' the devastation - not with a few million other people trying to do the same thing. 

I think that I might not try. I think that I might simply stay here and make my peace. 

I would certainly get mad at leaders who screwed it all up (this is not directed at only one political party, by the way). I would lament the things that I, like we say in Church, have done and things that I have left undone. (And I would throw the biggest "let me speak to the manager!" fit EVER. :) 

And then, once that was all finished? I would be sad. I would lament the waste and the missed opportunities we had to make a better world for ourselves and the generations to come. I would mourn how much beauty would be forever lost - souls, vegetation, culture, creatures, knowledge - and I would cry until I had no more tears left to shed. 

And then I think that I would party. I would take my laptop up to the roof of my building and I would throw a dance party for whomever wanted to join us - and we'd drink and do whatever else we wanted to do.  

I might try to skype with friends far away, I might try to see friends who live in other parts of town; I wouldn't want anyone I loved to spend their last moments alone.

Ultimately, I think, I'd want to spend the last few hours in peace in Central Park. I think there would be thousands of others there too. Those that would want their final moments to be in nature, surrounding by all that is green and good and full of life. We would certainly pray for a better world to replace the one that we, collectively, had messed up. 

I would miss all of you and our rantings - talking about our failures and our successes- and our jokes and our stories, and I would hope that everyone faced the end in a brave, humane manner doing exactly what you feel it is right for you. 

I would hang on for the last minute.. because, truly, a country that can send a nuke halfway around the world surely can have a way to divert at the last minute.... and wouldn't you want to be here for THAT moment? (I think I may have just created an HBO show... 'what happens the day after the bombs don't fall? What is the world like THEN?" I expect a 10% cut thankyouverymuch).

But, right here and now (and here's where, I think, the Joy part comes in), I hope that we can find a way out of our present circumstances; that we can retain the hope that most of us cling to for a better world and a better society; that we can see that we still have time to right the wrongs, fix the problems we face, and see the light at the end of the tunnel. There is such beauty in the world, there are so many things to be proud of; so much happiness to be had. So many wonderful things here for us to live for.

I know. This last bit sounds very Pollyanna-ish, but I can still find hope and that's given some things that I've been through in my life. And, if I can do it, so can you. I have to hold on to that.

As Kate McKinnon as Hillary said on SNL "I'm not giving up and neither should you". Those are pretty great words to live by -- as are the below. Peace. 

O, gather 'round the brokenness
Bring it to me now
The fragrance of those promises
You never dared to vow

The splinters that you carried
The cross you left behind
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind

And let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb

Behold the gates of mercy
In arbitrary space
And none of us deserving
Of cruelty or the grace

O, solitude of longing
Where love has been confined
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind

O, see the darkness yielding
That tore the light apart
Come healing of the reason
Come healing of the heart

O, troubledness concealing
An undivided love
The heart beneath is teaching
To the broken heart above

And let the heavens utter
Let the earth proclaim
Come healing of the altar
Come healing of the name

O, longing of the branches
To lift the little bird
O, longing of the arteries
To purify the blood

And let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb

O let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb

- Leonard Cohen

"Santa Is a Psychedelic Mushroom" #santaclause #shaman #mushrooms

SantamushroomsOK right off the bat, I should mention here that I don't consume or am encouraging anyone to consume mushrooms (although, full disclosure, I've tried twice and gotten sick both times, wah wahhhh) but this is a super cool video that I found from The New York times on the possible origins of the Santa Claus mythology. I find it fascinating and probable.

Embedded in the video (and stated explicitly towards the end) is the idea that that the gifts we should be giving ourselves and others, is the gift of spiritual reflection. That's not going to play very well with our corporate/Capitalistic culture, but it seems to me to be the real reason for the season. After all, it is the birth of Jesus and, other than on some very disturbing memes, Jesus tends to the poor and shares humble philosophy. Focusing so much on 'stuff' is a symptom of the illness that threatens to destroy our culture (and, by extension, the world). 

Anyway, the video is very interesting and will, at least, stimulate discussion. Enjoy! 



Santa Is a Psychedelic Mushroom from The New York Times - Video on Vimeo.


Election Day: What A Wonderful World Louis Armstrong #JumpingforJoy

LouisHope you've enjoyed all my postings today - after a horrible year and a half with this wretched election, I needed to re-set my own head and this helped tremendously, so thanks for indulging me today.

You know, we might be facing some very serious and challenging times no matter who leads us (but obviously I think that Hillary stands a better chance of meeting those challenges than that other guy), but we have to remain strong. And, although it doesn't feel like we've 'been in this together" during this election cycle (more often than not, it's been 'every person for themselves'), at the end of the day, this is the only world we have and it's up to us to figure out how to live together and appreciate what we have.

But there's someone who can say this ten times better than I can - and that's the great Louis Armstrong. Take it away, Louis.



Election Day: Jumping for Joy for Marriage Equality: Tarrell and Dayna #Marriage Equality #JumpingforJoy #IDo #RevAndrew

TarrellDaynaJ4jThe job at the bank got pretty busy in late 2014 and throughout 2015 so I didn't have much time to work on weddings unfortunately - I think you can tell from all of these posts how much I really enjoy officiating and planning them. And for the first half of 2016, after the position was eliminated, I did a lot of other things, like help shepherd a friend through his final days, work on my art, etc. But, now I'm back on the path towards working on weddings again and it feels pretty damn awesome.

My first wedding 'back' was in mid September to marry Tarrell and Dayna out at Austin's Ale House in Kew Gardens. It was a beautiful afternoon for an outdoor wedding and the bride and groom and their family couldn't have been nicer. Here's a photo from the day by Photographer Kelly Williams.

Election Day: Jumping for Joy for Marriage Equality: The Surprise Wedding of Rob and John #Marriage Equality #JumpingforJoy #IDo #RevAndrew

If I thought a burlesque wedding was a little out of the ordinary, then a surprise wedding was a piece of cake.

J4JRobJohnWedding2It was ostensibly a 50th birthday party for one of the grooms to be as the guests weren't told that they were about to attend a wedding. My friend Devin who is a wedding planner in Fort Lauderdale knew the guys and set this up. I was to pretend to be a party guest and reveal myself to be a licensed officiant at some point during the party.

It went something like this:

Crowd sings Happy Birthday to Rob

Rob: thank you all so much - I'm glad to be here with the love of my life, John, whom I've been with for 15 years...

Crowd: awwwww

Rob: and I'd like to take the opportunity while you're all here to ask him to marry me!

Crowd: (applause)

John: now if only we were able to get married here and now with everyone already here, that would be really great!

Crowd: (nervous chuckling)

Me: Excuse me! I'm a licensed officiant in New York state and I can marry you!

Crowd: (collective laughter and rolling eyes as they all realize they've been played)

Of course it was a year and a half ago and I'm paraphrasing, but you get the jist. The shot above is from photographer Steve Rosen whom I met at a wedding vendor fair sometime in 2014. He's openly gay and loves to take photos at same sex weddings - so if you need someone to shoot your wedding, I highly recommend Steve!

Election Day: Jumping for Joy for Marriage Equality: A Burlesque Wedding #Marriage Equality #JumpingforJoy #IDo #RevAndrew

MattCubbyOn May 10, 2014, I had what was probably the wildest officiant experience of my career (so far) - I officiated at a wedding of Matt and Scott, two gay male burlesque performers who were then joined by three dozen of their burlesque performer friends (straight, gay, male, female, etc) and emceed the middle part of a mutli-hour show dedicated to the happy couple. It was held in a performance space down in SoHo and was an all day extravaganza. Pure joy.. and then some!!

Election Day: Jumping for Joy for Marriage Equality Edie Julia, Key West Lives! #Marriage Equality #JumpingforJoy

Oh my goodness... Edie and Julia - what a kick that wedding was!

EdieJuliaJ4JSo here's the set up - on March 9, 2014, I turned 50 years old - I had celebrated with an enormous bash just weeks before on the final night of a weekly show I'd been producing and emceeing for the previous nine years (that's 457 shows, my friends), but naturally, on my birthday went out with friends. Literally the next day I kicked off a 9 day 9 city road show taking three top economists from my bank to meet with clients and prospective clients. We started out in Boston, then my manager went on to do two dates in Texas while I put the final touches on the rest - the MoMA in NYC, Minneapolis, Calgary, Denver, Chicago and Toronto. What a whirlwind that trip was - and what a lot of fun we had meeting hundreds of clients.

By the time I returned on March 20th, I was abit wrecked, but oh oh, I had a wedding to perform the next day - at the LGBT business expo at the Javits for two friends of friends, Edie and Julia who were up from Key West to get married. :) First, that next morning I took a cab to the Javits because it was simply easier than trying to schelp down on the subway. When the cab driver asked me what was going on, I told him, and boy, did he have a judgment about that. Whatever. I was sort of too tired to explain what a phobic jerk he was and just tired enough that I was willing to go off on him. But, in the spirit of what I knew would be a special day, I did not. (but grrrr)

I met the brides and my friend Tommy who had arranged this in the Key West booth. As we were getting set up, I noticed that my friends from the LGBT cheerleading group, Cheer New York, were there and warming up to perform. I'd raised a lot of money for them over the years so I asked a huge favor even though I knew that the group's leader was kind of stressed out.

Back to the booth, I performed the ceremony and a large group gathered to watch and take pictures (there is certainly video out there somewhere of the ceremony!), and as I pronounced them married, all 20 or so members of Cheer New York raced up to the gals and did a special cheer just for them!! A local drag queen who dresses as Tina Turner seized the moment to insert herself into the mix and get tons of pics with the brides. :) Fun! Anyway, we all had a blast - and, later, Tommy, the gals, myself and another friend all went to Chez Josephine for a beautiful dinner. I slipped the pianist $20 to lay La Vie En Rose (one of my favorites) for the ladies from me.

Edie and Julia often keep in touch and are doing well and very happy living the married life at long last .... a true definition of 'happily ever after'. :)