Archives for posts with tag: Chicago

Des Moines

1.

Monday morning.  Brooklyn.  The end of this particularly hard winter is nowhere in sight.  In LA the sun shines over the glittering sea, in London my friends post pictures of balmy evenings in St James Park. I run from our place to sit in crowded coffee shops.  I’m writing under a pseudonym nowadays for publications that love paying him/her but would never pay me.  Funny.  Doing what writers have always done: assuming different names for different opinions, different styles, different genres.  Consequently, I don’t get to write my blog very often… as I traverse the continent once a month.  From sea to shining sea.  No one understands why I love driving 2,800 miles twice over once a month… but I do.  The last trip was short and sweet.  I stayed in LA a few days then drove back over the Rockies and into a 50 car wreck on the i80 a hundred miles east of Chicago on the Ohio Turnpike.  Trapped on the side of the road for ten hours with two patient dogs and so many bad christian radio stations.  Badly educated, right-wing bigots on the radio.  Wondering out loud how they will roll back the rights of women and gays and undocumented workers, how they will keep hold of their white America.  The America their ancestors battled to tame.  I think about those early Americans very often as I drive over the Rockies,  the hardship they suffered, the dreams they had… the cruelty they inflicted on those who lived on the land they took and the slaves they owned.

I tried sleeping in the car.  Minus 6 degrees.  Occasionally fellow travelers would stop by to see if we were okay.  They offered cookies and consolation.

2.

I’ve been with my boy for 8 months.  We cook at home and watch bad make over TV.  Every day our situation gets stronger as we over come our own and the prejudices of others.  I realized that most of my male gay friends are single, even the ones with the best pedigrees.  The ones who are good-looking and sweet and a ‘good catch’.  I, of course, am none of those things.  I am the bullet you need to dodge.  That’s what they say.  But the gays are eager to diss all of their friends burgeoning relationships.  They are disparaging about anyone who may not be ‘ideal’.  This ideal that keeps them single and lonely.  They look at me sadly when they find out how old L is as if I am deluding myself that my relationship could ever work.  Did I think it would work?  Well, not in some fairy tale way, not the way gay writers write the perfect arrangement… the ideal.  We muddle through, we miss each other when we are apart, we fight occasionally but not as much as we did when we first met.  All in all, I’m happy and feel love from him and let my love flow… to him.  That’s occasionally a very confusing and baffling thing for me.  To let myself be loved.

3.

In Des Moines, I met Kookie Kardashian… the morbidly obese (500lb), hirsute… older sister of Kim Kardashian and Kourtney Kardashian.  She is the least known of the KKK Klan.  Drinking alone in a dump of a hotel bar, reruns of KUWTK playing on the flickering TV above the tequila selection, staring absently into a soupy pina colada.  Text messages remained unanswered as she pulls at her thin mustache. I introduce myself, she says she appreciates the company.  Apparently, when the cameras are in her Calabasas house Kris makes her leave with the undocumented servants.  Kris pokes her with a stick.  Kookie said that Ryan Seacrest called her a ‘fat cunt’, that if she wanted to be on the show she should ‘get a fucking lap band’.  Kookie, blinded by grief, drinks herself regularly into a blackout.  She commandeered Kanye’s jet and took it to Iowa. Her brushed denim and patent leather Fendi bag stuffed with cash. If she loses the weight… Kris promised her that she and Rob can have their own show.

She told me she misses her dad.

4.

Has anyone been watching the OWN Lindsay Lohan ‘documentary’? That girl is OUT OF HER MIND. A world without consequence will do that to you. A world where nobody has the guts to confront an addict and her worst defects. A world where she believes she is still important or relevant, a world where no one will tell her that death is imminent… like Heath, Phil, River… living in a room stuffed with clothes, jewelry… evidence of active addiction.

Despicably, this tragedy is being manipulated by entertainment industry matriarch Oprah Winfrey… the disingenuous bad mum who knew all along that her little girl would let her down. Oprah’s fake outrage is utterly disgusting.

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I’m trying to write everything down but somehow the past few weeks have blurred into one long delicious adventure.

NYC and back again in the car.

Let me remember.

I drove east through death valley and this was the temperature:

Death Valley 118 Degrees

I drove through Utah during the day which was very wise.  Utah is very beautiful.  Devastatingly beautiful.

Emery Utah 2

You see.  I can’t find the words.

I stopped in Des Moines and enjoyed the state building and the wonderful contemporary sculpture park given to the community by John and Mary Pappajohn, a Des Moines venture capitalist and his wife.

I met a young hair dresser with blue hair.

Capital Building Des Moines

18 Year Old Des Moines Hairdresser

I stopped in Chicago and met a huge football player.

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I spent the 4th July in Chicago. The Fireworks terrified Dude, my little brown dog.

July 4th Boys

I arrived in NYC.  Just in time for the horrible heat wave.

It was so hot I had to leave the dogs inside the apartment during the day or risk them dying of heat exhaustion.

I sat uncomfortably in AA meetings.

I stayed on the upper west side.  A block from Central Park.

Central Park

We walked every day off leash at dawn around the Great Lawn.  We saw beautiful young men exercising.  We, being me and the dogs.

I explored Red Hook and saw a band at Dustin Yellin‘s place called Guerilla Toss.

Guerilla Toss

I met a beautiful man in the street and kissed him.

Sparky

Why was I there?

I had gone east to reclaim my gayness after months of feeling like an ex-gay.   Hanging onto the word queer as the only way to describe my isolation from the gays.

New York.

I spent my birthday at the cloisters with Richy.

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I read from my blog at a Lower East Side gallery and they paid me for doing so.

I met more interesting people on the street.

Michael 2

I helped a friend edit his movie.

Then, unable to stand the searing heat a moment longer, I drove to Sayville taking the first ferry to Fire Island.  The Pines.

I rented a small house on Cedar Walk but didn’t spend any time there at all.

From the moment I arrived I had one extraordinary experience after another.

Pines Domestic Life

I met cool people,  and coveted their things.

Beautiful FIP crockery

I was invited into their homes and onto their yachts, I met their friends and ate their food.  I returned their hospitality by paying for them as and when they would let me.

I walked to Cherry Grove where I had breakfast with John Walters.

I had dinner with Andy Tobias…

Andy Tobias

… in my favorite Fire Island Pines home.

My Favorite FIP House

Duncan Roy

I met a gang of charming gay men from NYC who were kind and considerate.

I spent time with all of them in the city once I returned.

This one is called Jon.

John Stevens Naked

As I let myself fall into the gay Fire Island days I began to remember how much fun being gay is.  Even if I was sober and a little bit older.

I walked the beach.

Fire Island Pines Beach

I had a huge old man crush on this beautiful boy:

Ian

Who worked here:

FIP Barman

I saw Justin Bond.

Justin Bond an Joan Fontein

I looked in at the house where we lived for so many years.

Grey Gardens FIP

And I met more men.

Blue Eyes

I spent time on my own.  I found an abandoned cock ring on the board walk.

Abandoned Cock Ring

I walked miles of boardwalks with the dogs who came home covered in tiny ticks.

Boardwalk Fire Island Pines

I finally met a beautiful man who left for India but lives in Paris who stole my head/heart.

I was so god damned happy.

The morning after the Pines Party I prepared to leave.

The Morning after the Pines Party

After ten days I took the ferry, then another ferry to Provincetown.

Provincetown Beach

I rented a small apartment on the beach and met more men.

Beautiful Man

I hung with my friend Benoit Denizet Lewis but the sparkle that used to exist between us has gone.

Benoit Denizet Lewis

We explored the graveyard.  We found Norman Mailer’s grave and a pretty headstone with a small dog carved into it.

Dog Grave

I ate a great deal but didn’t put on any weight as I walked so many miles every day.

I found this beautiful ceramic mirror frame:

Owl Mirror Frame Provincetown

I met more men.

Bulgarian Boat Boy

Eventually I drove back to New York and stayed with friends.  This is their view:

NYC View

I partied with Jeremy Kost…

…and his friend.

I had dinner with Dan at Mary’s Fish Camp.

Dan Hyman

I had dinner with Thom at my club on the roof by the pool:

Thom

I wore this chic watch:

Rolex

We worked on my film.

Franck in the office

Then, after another week in the city I took the car all the way home again.

I met a hitch hiker who travelled all the way to California.  His name is Albert.

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I stayed in The Lincoln Hotel in Chicago.

Bartender

Christian

I stayed in Denver.

Zach

I stayed in Utah.

We drove from Cedar City to LA in half a day.

We drove up the mountain in Malibu, up the drive and finally slept in our own bed.

It has been misty and cool.

Malibu Marine Layer

18 Year Old Des Moines Hairdresser

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July 4th Boys

Hannah

I haven’t written anything for so long.

Perhaps I just ran out of things to say.

Roger Ebert died.  He wrote to me recently urging me to write more.  I have no idea why.

The house in Malibu is filled with my things again and the garden, this beautiful spring, overwhelms me.

Moving back in gave me the opportunity to start editing once again.    I threw out three huge boxes of old clothes.  Cashmere, labels, everything loved for a moment back then.  Helmut, Yves, Issy, Comme des Garcons… boxy shirts from another era, trousers that I can (after my op) still get into but have lost interest in.

I kept all the Helmut Lang couture.  It’s just too special.

I feel myself floating over the surface of my life.

The road trip across the USA was spectacular.  Chicago, Denver, The Rockies, Utah and Vegas.   Just me and the dogs and a car full of art and luggage.  I met lovely people and saw cities I had only ever heard of.

I never went over the speed limit.

The operation to have my gall bladder removed was painful but since having the surgery I feel wonderful.

I didn’t realize how much pain I was living with.  How the pain made me grumpy, listless and intolerant.

Now, without that girdle of pain, without the imminent GB attacks… I feel perfectly happy.  Peaceful.

I can concentrate.  perhaps that’s why I need to write?

During the past few months so much has happened.  Things I can tell you and things I can’t.

Yet, after the moment passes, I can’t be bothered to write it down.

Editing the huge amount of stuff I own to a few essential pieces.  Taking my old stuff  to vintage stores, consignment stores and auction houses has been cathartic and profitable.   Who knew things were so valuable?

But more than that.  It feels like I am winding down.  Not is a morbid way.

With less stuff and less girth (since the op I lost a great deal of weight) I feel not only lighter but more agile, more energy to do important things (for me) more time to devote to others, causes, delights.

As you know, those who know me, I like my decisions to be made for me.  I LIKED my decisions to be made for me.

Recently I have taken control of the reigns.  Less at the mercy of Duncan Roy.  Do you know what I’m talking about?

Rockies

The criminal matter is resolved.

Do you want to know what happened?

As part of a plea deal crafted by the DA and my lawyer, I plead NO CONTEST to a misdemeanor.  My sentence?  An 18 month gagging order and a 52 hour course in anger management.

There was no jail time, no fine.  It was all over in 20 minutes.

I smoked a cigarette outside the courtroom.  So did the DA.  She sat there in her black coat.  Sitting where she always sits.  Behind a wall.

Like a naughty school girl.  Smoking.

And I felt like it was going to be OK.  Because she was smoking too.

The judge said goodbye, the bailiff smiled.  The stenographer watched with interest.

I said goodbye to my lawyers and drove to Venice.

I had a lot of thinking to do.

On the way to Abbot KinneyRussian woman rear ended me.  We stopped abruptly on Wilshire Blvd.

Her name was Natalie Volk.  She was very apologetic.  Her husband got out of the car.  Natalie must have been 80 years old, he was older.  She touched the back of the car to make sure it wasn’t all a bad dream.

We exchanged personal details.  I’m not going to call her insurance people.  I know what they’ll do to her.  How punitive they can be.

That night I stopped at a gas station to buy gas and soda.  A huge black woman begged me to fill her gas tank.  The station wagon was packed with kids.  They were homeless.  They lived in that car.

I paid for their gas.  I made it seem like a terrible imposition.

Absurdly, I didn’t want other people to think I was being hijacked.

I went to buy myself a soda.  The woman at the checkout said, “That was really kind of you, they were homeless.”  She smiled and said,  “I’ll pay for your soda.”

I felt badly that I hadn’t been kinder to the homeless women.

On my way out of the service station I saw the most beautiful black man.  A solid wall of muscle.  He was walking up Lincoln Avenue.   I circled around until I found him.  I stopped the car and asked him what he was doing.

We had a chai latte at the Coffee Bean in Marina Del Rey.  He was from Chicago.  28 years old.  A personal trainer.  He had moved to LA a few months ago to help his brother.  He used to have dreadlocks.

I dropped him off at his apartment.  He invited me into his empty place.

At 5am I drove him to the gym where he worked.

Perhaps I should have given him more?  More than a chai latte?

As I drove home up the PCH.  Looking over the Pacific Ocean.  I thought about the previous day.

All that public money wasted.  All that time taken by highly paid District Attorneys,  Attorneys who could have been solving real crimes.

Money that could be spent repairing a local school. Money that could have been spent investigating white-collar crimes.

I was listening to John Martyn.  Solid Air.  Synthesized sea gulls.  A heartbeat.  My heart is still beating.

2.

Whatever may happen.  How ever bad it gets.  It is is up to you… yes you…  you can turn the worst things that happen into the most extraordinary adventure.

As anyone who has a creative bone in their body knows, to carve something artful out of wherever you find yourself… well.  It’s up to you.

So, it was no coincidence that, after I spoke to the reporter about The Trust Act, after my involved and specific conversation with the  lawyer, after I had recorded the Youtube video….

I sat down at my desk and rewrote the ending of my script.

What a killing crime this love can be.

This is for you Daddy.  You bad, bad man.

On Friday at 10am I will stand before you all again, on your televisions, in your newspapers, sparking up the internet.

Damning the authority.

On behalf of the brown people.

And after it is all over?  I am left on my own.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  Because I have you.

I want to tell you about my neck.  The arthritis in my neck.  The arthritis that makes my arms numb.  My fingers tingle.

I am pleased not to share that with anyone.

The audience is singing along with the familiar tune.

It is 2am.  The dog is farting.  He’ll want to go out in the middle of the night.

LIly

The day passed slowly and uneventfully.

I watered the garden. “Why don’t you have an automated system for that?” I hear you say. Well, I do. But…a bit like our mad bad Prince of Wales I like watering the plants individually and chatting with each of them. The citrus trees especially respond to gentle coaxing.

There is something charming and rather annoying about the ‘we’ pathology of twins. We are with each other a little too much. Consequently, when we left for Lake Malibou, I wasn’t in the best of moods.

We all helped Jennifer with her Out of The Box Wednesday pack then Miles set off with the delivery.

Robby and I drove into Hollywood. I wanted to stop in at Fresh and Easy where I buy English staples. Tea, bacon, marmalade etc. I can’t do with out them. We, me and the Little Dog, sat in the ugly court-yard outside the supermarket drinking coffee waiting for Robby watching lithe men heading for 24 hour fitness.

A woman from Chicago, who had arrived in Hollywood two nights previously, looked down at the dog and said, “There’s a little person trapped in there.” She fed him chicken breast. “This has got to last me two days.” She told the Little Dog. She was plump, dyed black hair and red lips. She told me that she was here in Hollywood to pitch reality TV ideas to…God know who. She was going to pay to pitch her ‘concepts’.

I was overcome with pity for her. She told me a couple of ‘ideas’ she had thought of pitching.

It occurred to me that for forty years not one original thought had been formed in that sappy brain.

I went for a walk.

Hollywood is grimy. There is nothing of any beauty to look at…to be inspired by. I yearn for my garden.

Robby picked me up after an hour in the gym. We had planned on going to an art/film/glamour party in Beverly Hills but I was tired and irritable so we drove home.

Well, we drove back to Malibou Lake and I helped Jason cook dinner for the children. After dinner, as the children were going to bed, I sat at their Steinway and tried playing the piano. I had not played for thirty years. I was shocked by how clumsy my fingers were. No longer able to slide effortlessly over the keys. I began to sweat. Evidence of my old age. Evidence of my own mortality. It was so frustrating! My left hand refused to even practice the scales in unison with the right.

I lay in bed last night thinking too much. Waiting to be dead.

Not so fast Batman!

Next week I set off on my ‘great adventure’ culminating in the birthday hootenanny. There are people flying from all sorts of wonderful places to help me celebrate my 50th Birthday…before I am not. I am stunned that so many old friends even exist for me let alone want to jump on a plane and be with me. You know, this is what I should have done last year…but last year I was with him in the back parlor of Wheelers.

Last year there was no room for anyone else. WTF?

Justin left for Aspen. I Walked around the charmingly pretty houses of Whitley Heights. Mediterranean pastiche, mostly. A few modern additions but rare and sensitively done.

I looked in at a couple of empty homes. I wondered if they had been foreclosed on. 1 in every 135 homes in the USA is now in foreclosure. Whilst the banks are saved the people are not. It is a sickening thought.

Credit default swaps, sub-prime, hedge-fund, derivatives. Like pure mathematics these products are distinguished by their rigour, abstraction and beauty.

They are perfect lies.

When I moved here I expected to lose everything. I expected it. It’s that kind of place. Everyone wants what you have. Everyone. Once you get a handle on what this country is no one in his or her right mind would want to stay. A squirming mass-maggots feeding off the carcass of humanity.

I had no idea.

I came for an adventure. I had no idea what that adventure would be. I severed all financial ties to the United Kingdom and set myself adrift. There are high seas to negotiate right now. Perilous swells. Huge storms ahead. I can feel it. This is not catastrophic thinking. Just look at the evidence.

Homeless, jobless, desperate. The people will galvanize sooner or later. They will think as one: the change that they have been promised (that still has not been delivered) will be fought for. The Berlin Wall is a great example of how the state finally gives in to the will of the people. The state and the corporation are as one-tethered in a ghastly dance of death. Revolution, when it comes, is always fearless. The people will learn to die to save themselves. Not in some God forsaken Bagdad souk but on the streets of Tampa, Chicago and Albuquerque.

No left no right no up nor down. Once chaos is upon us money and contract have no meaning. The baker reigns supreme. It would take one harsh winter to kill off the soppy populace.

They brought it upon themselves.

Communism, fascism socialism: all have failed, as will capitalism.

Saw commercial for our VH1 show. It was exciting. I have a lot of wrinkles.

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