Archives for posts with tag: Fire Island

Jim Lande

1.

What used to be a trickle of exceptionalism that marred a tiny portion of the white gay male community has recently become a lethal torrent.   Perceived ‘equality’ has revealed the true nature of many, many gay white men.  No longer humbled by their treatment at the hands of an unfair, homophobic society they have sprung ahead of the pack, claiming that a ‘seat at the table’ is not good enough… instead we must build, decorate and chair the table… governing any meeting it may entertain.  Moreover, we don’t really want to share the table with anyone other than really, really good-looking gay white men who all agree and never get angry.

Being gay is like joining a cult.

At gay AA… the greeters don’t greet you unless you are ‘hot’ or ‘famous’.

Provincetown celebrity (aren’t they all) posted a picture of his smiling mug along side two other grinning, bearded gay men.  All three based in Provincetown, on perpetual vacation, they look for all the world as if they are happy.  As if they are care free… as if trouble seldom blights their gay paradise.  Great pic!  They may very well use the pic and pics like them to lure boys on a well-known gay hook up app.  In gay paradise everything is perfect.  That’s what they insist you believe.  Of course… scratch a little beneath the surface of any gay man and one releases the foul odor of resentment, addiction, crippling narcissism and judgement.

I mentioned to Jim Lande who posted the pic that everyone seems so happy all the time in Provincetown?  He replied, “Only for the deserving.”   Of course, we know what that means.  Jim means there is no room in a perfect gay society for an opposing view, an ugly mug, for poverty, for people of color, for mental illness…  the deserving are hand-picked from the glut of meat delivered weekly to Provincetown, Fire Island and resorts like them.

Jim describes himself as a Boulevardier, a bohemian… he compliments a video I posted of Sebastian Horsley my great friend… I remind him that Sebastian was a bohemian, Jim is just a gay man wearing a velvet jacket… there’s a difference.   He retracts the word bohemian from his description.  He attempts to shame me for going to a boarding school that helps kids who have been abused.   It’s the gay go to punishment:  SHAME.   Did you read that?  This exceptional, best little boy who worked in government all his life spying on the good people of the United States is doing what the rancid gay does best… he is trying to shame me for something I could not help.   I had no say.

Jim Lande is trapped in Provincetown, posting pics of his amazing life, his amazing friends… he posts endless reviews of the film he helped fund, Love is Strange by Ira Sachs.  He describes Ira as a ‘Hollywood Darling.’   Blighted by gay exceptionalism… he reminds me how much money he is going to make, the awards they will win… the plaudits they receive.

2.

Dan spends his summer hop-scotching across the world from gay resort to gay cruise to gay sightseeing.  He travels in a pack of identical men.  The same age, the same color, the same body weight, hair distribution, the same dietary obsessions… the same unresolved traumas.  He is the ‘deserving’.

I met a young man on-line the other day.  We had the briefest moment of intimacy.  He is ‘desperate’ to be in the film industry.  He is ‘discreet’ which is short hand for: I’m careful who I tell I’m gay and what I’m into because it might ruin my career chances.  He’s not scared that straight people will find out, little Austin is scared the gays will judge him, the gays will shame him.  He doesn’t want gay men to know anything.  He is secretive, sneaky and as a result… thoroughly unattractive.   He has built himself a hybrid closet (like a panic room) protecting himself from the gays.

(The actor I dated this summer was secretive, sneaky and lied about everything.  The gays live in a shadowy world of fantasy, make-believe and lies.)

3.

The society photographer boasts that the boy who loves him is ‘disposable’, he boasts that he fisted him… when I ask the boy what happened… he tells me that the hardest thing about the photographer were his fingers.    We seldom talk about erectile dysfunction.  Anything other than a hard cock renders a gay man utterly useless.   You know, the gays hate me writing my blog.   They write snarky notes insisting that I correct tiny details… (“I’m not a director I’m a producer”)  as if any one cared!  

4.

On Facebook I am pretending to be an old Whitstable codger, enjoying a thread on Julie Burchill‘s Facebook page.  Julie hates all Muslims, her page is rife with anti islamic rhetoric.  If you disagree with her POV you are immediately branded a ‘jew hater’.  She says, “I think I may have mentioned a FEW times that I am a Gentile Socialist Zionist? Why would people come here just to get cross? If you don’t like the tiny democratic state of Israel, surrounded by fascist fiefdoms, fuck off to one of the thousands of Jew-hating Facebook pages? Cheers!”

Her fans scream with joy!  Her fans ecstatically revile Islam.  Her fans start out by reminding us firmly that they are not racist (they don’t support the British National Party) then, without irony, they go on to say how much they hate all Muslims and want to kill them.  I suggested meeting one of these crazy women to discuss exacting revenge on the Muslim population of Chatham…. amazingly she private messaged me in the hope of exacting revenge on Muslims!!!

Then it got pretty scary… these people are fucking INSANE.  Julie has no idea what her crazed followers are capable of.   She really needs to take that seriously.   Whipping those guys up the way she does may lead her to some unsightly trouble… exactly the same trouble other radical preachers have, facing the same criminal charges.  You need only one crazy person to do something dumb and cite Julie B as their inspiration…. well, you know the rest.

BTW what exactly is a ‘gentile socialist zionist’?

5.

The only person to spout that kind of anti Muslim shit to me here in the USA was Tom Desanto the gay Producer of Transformers who told me he believed (as a patriot) that all Muslims should convert or be eradicated from the earth because they didn’t like gays.  I said, my deceased father was a Muslim and several of my 12 brothers and sisters too.  He didn’t care.  He still thought they should be murdered.  Whilst I can sort of understand Julie’s naive zeal as a pre op convert to Judaism I found Tom’s Christian hatred and rabid insistence to kill millions of people based on their beliefs… utterly stunning.  He is not a fool.   He knew that I would one day write what he said based on our archived text message conversation.  Mind you, Tom has always been a person to be suspicious of, one of Bryan Singer‘s cabal he tells anyone who will listen that he will help anyone he can… any way he can… but when the time comes… he is nowhere to be found.

Penny Arcade

Gay men in Los Angeles told researchers that they believed a culture that focuses on one-night stands and partying, that emphasizes perfect bodies and good looks, that prizes material possessions, that sees gay men tearing each other down as they compete for attention and that pressures gay men to fit in or conform is bound to create unhappiness, stress and unhealthy behaviors.

The word on the street in gay resort/haven Provincetown?  The straights are coming, they are coming thick and fast, young affluent heterosexuals buying property, renting holiday apartments and day tripping.  I was reassured by a cool, 31-year-old, straight person yesterday that this was the heterosexual ‘tipping point’.  Of course (if true) the reasons are obvious.  The older more affluent crowd of gay men and lesbians who bought affordable homes here twenty years ago are simply not that interesting to a less ghettoized younger gay crowd who go to Fire Island or Mykonos where a good gay thumping time is assured, where they can find an affordable share for the summer… anyway, the drag is so much better the closer you get to NYC.

Provincetown Garden

Young straight men and women who used to actively avoid hanging in gay ghettos… or felt uncomfortable no longer have any reservation.  This, my dears is one of the more unexpected changes that comes with ‘integration’.  Our gay communities, gay clubs and gay bars will dilute as we become more heteronormative.

How do the gays feel about straight people buying into the gay and lesbian ghetto dream?  I hear grumblings from some, but what can they say?  We can’t restrict straight people from joining the party?  Before the great shift, the Obama ‘evolution’, the Blair/Mandleson equality bill I would regularly challenge straight people who came to our clubs and bars, wondering why they were there… if they understood why gays and lesbians created safe spaces for themselves… now apparently we all live in a safe space… together.

If the war is won do we abandon the notion of a safe space, a gay bar, an LGBTQ community? Is that what we were fighting for?  As it turns out, gay men are still living shameful and secretive lives… safely hidden from prying eyes.  No longer behind the blacked out windows of the gay bar but on the internet where we can fully reinvent ourselves as muscle-bound avatars, 10 years younger than we really are.

The gay bar, meanwhile… becomes a themed experience for enlightened neo-liberal heterosexuals.  After all, gay men don’t need to meet one another in real life when we can meet on-line, reducing our interaction before a sexual encounter to the barest possible exchange of relevant facts.  Hung? Looking? Party?

The same heterosexual land grab is happening in the Fire Island Pines gay community.  Straight people are buying and renting homes at a faster rate than gay people. Of course… the truth is, we never really owned the lions share of Fire Island Pines… it was always owned by straight people.  Three heterosexual families who control The Pines real estate market.

In San Francisco‘s iconic gay area The Castro we are facing extinction in our natural habitat, bought out/selling out to silicone valley billions.  What are we left with?  Our sad LGBT ‘pride’ parade: a blinded corporate-sponsored dinosaur serving only the breweries and distilleries, no longer a political defiance… no longer worth a pilgrimage by those newly out yearning to see gays en masse… the gay parade and all it seeks to celebrate merely adds to our woes, confirming the worst about who we have become.

Little Dog

How long will it take for Provincetown to lose its unique identity and become just another Cape Cod town? The Pines,  just another beach community on Fire Island?  How long will it take for our history to be lost, forgotten or ignored by apathetic gay white men who have no interest in those who came before?  The heroes who fought decades of violent oppression, the ‘gay plague’, who demanded equality… how long will it be until their names are erased?

Do you know who they are?  Harvey Milk… and…

The politics of invisibility.

As the quality of our lives collectively ‘improves’, as we ‘integrate’ due to the passing of progressive equality laws why are we still facing a crisis?  Why do gay men continue to struggle with life-threatening health problems at alarmingly high rates compared to straight men — alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, suicide, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Gay and bisexual men are still most impacted by HIV/AIDS and syphilis, they suffer higher rates of substance abuse, they are more likely to drink heavily later into life, and they are more likely to commit suicide and suffer major depression and anxiety and bipolar disorders.

Gay men with mental health problems are more likely to use illegal drugs and commit suicide. Or regularly using drugs and alcohol can lead to risky sexual behavior, which increases the likelihood of getting infected by an STD.

Our health problems, in other words, are feeding into each other, we’re literally killing ourselves through suicide, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS at higher rates than straight men.  Let’s say that again: We are killing ourselves at higher rates than straight men through suicide, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS.

Some gays are quick to point to the stresses of living as a gay man in an overwhelmingly straight world — one that passes anti-gay laws and constantly spews homophobic rhetoric — as a reason for mental health and substance abuse problems. With that argument, they are coming very close to saying that we are powerless victims who have little control over our own lives and choices, that homophobes have more power over us.

That’s a ridiculous notion — lethal and self-defeating.

Since homophobia still exists and is not going away any time soon, the victim theory, if embraced, dooms us to a life of external, homophobic stressors that forces us to drink too much, commit suicide too frequently and get depressed too often.

The quote is from the LA Weekly.  You can read it HERE.

 

 

Go, then! Then go to the moon-you selfish dreamer!

I left Fire Island on Wednesday.  Driving north with my Persian friend Iliad.  The clouds were low, the air muggy and thick.  We took the ferry from Orient Point to New London, there was a British aristocrat on the ferry stitching needle point.  Beautiful raspberry and pistachio coloured yarn.

My intention is to return to Fire Island… maybe…. next month.  The last couple of days there blighted by torrential rain and chilly winds.  Friends came, David visited from NYC for the day and Lorne made an appearance but mainly to fetch his forgotten/lost bag.

May proved to be chillier than I remember.  Memorial Day and the biscotti queens came and went.  John, the owner of the house arrived and made everything broken… work.  I cooked a huge dinner and he and his friends the Scots seemed to love it.  Andrew from Dover Street Market swept in wearing incredibly chic pants.   John baked Halibut en cocotte.

During the week those of us who stayed were thrown together at the Canteen (I think they call it The Cultured Elephant) and it’s true when they say that one makes gay acquaintances in the city and gay friends on Fire Island.  I got to hang with the resort staff who are genuinely the sweetest, most handsome men… see above.   They have a grueling season ahead of them, working the bars, the clubs, the hotel and the restaurants.  Only the most robust will survive.  It’s a tough, unforgiving business serving entitled, demanding gay men.  The day before I headed North one of the newbies left the island in tears, torn apart by gay unreasonableness.

I met Joey the little person who is a particularly inspiring soul.  I was in awe of his ability to be the hugest man in his little body.  He has a captivating story.

Everyone has a Fire Island Pines story.   There are love affairs and breakups, tears on the boardwalk and fights in the elegant cedar homes.  There are couples and  thruples and orgies, there are undignified old men last gasping for their youth.  Wide eyed first timers arrive on the ferry, amazed that such a place as Fire Island Pines exists.  I remember that day, the first day Joe-Baily  brought me to Fire Island 25 years ago.  I will never forget it.

Everyone has a story.  I was told one hundred times by stick thin youths that they were too fat or not pretty enough to meet the man of their dreams.  They told me that boys talk to them in real life like they do on Grindr.  “Hung?” as an opening gambit.  “Party?”  “Looking?”  The single word pick up.  So lazy and charmless.  I did not envy them, these young boys… so far from serenity.   Of course, not all young gay boys are wracked with self-doubt.  I met young gay men who were comfortable and confident and conquering all… whilst the vulnerable fell by the wayside or let old men blow them at the dick dock.

There’s a degree of gay anarchy on the island.  Every one of the local laws are broken every day by almost everyone.

The AA meetings are vile.  The recovering alcoholics looking down their nose at those who drink and take drugs.   I met a dozen gay men who were once sober who now drink… taken out by a beautiful boy and a meth pipe.

One story particularly moved and disturbed me.  A grey eyed, erudite black boy no more than 28 years old who works for a renowned artist.   We met on the beach and he described his Fire Island experience.   He was embarrassed to tell me that he had encountered a great deal of racism during his time at The Pines.  There are few black people on Fire Island and now I know why.

I made it to Ptown.  I had dinner with Benoit the night I arrived, we ate fish and chips.  The ex-gay story he wrote for the New York Times Magazine is now a film produced by Gus Van Sant, starring James Franco and Zachary Quinto.  I am very proud of him.  Except… it’s another entirely white cast.   Why? Why? Why?

Yesterday, a local fisherman brought two pounds of freshly caught lobster knuckles that we shucked for dinner.

The dogs loved Fire Island.  They miss it!  Dude and The Little Dog bounding up the boardwalk, chasing rabbits and deer.  They are a little more restricted here even though we live directly on the beach and they are allowed to walk unleashed.   Today we walked a mile or so to the West End and visited the pier shack where Tennessee Williams wrote The Glass Menagerie on a stolen type writer.

The Shack where Tennessee Williams wrote to Glass Menagerie

My favorite and the most obviously poignant Tennessee Williams line from The Glass Menagerie:

I didn’t go to the moon, I went much further-for time is the greatest distance between two places.

Which made me think momentarily about Jake Bauman who I kinda owe my love of both Cape Cod and the Catskills.  Both of whom he introduced me.  If he hadn’t mentioned them with such fondness… I wouldn’t have explored them years later.   There are times when I wonder about those crazy few months with Jake.  They sure seem indelible.   There are brief moments when I wish I could pick up the phone and ask him how he is and what his life is like now.  Then I think better of it and let the memory, the moment… the past… slip back into the black, bombazine black water of what was but could never be.

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I felt both overwhelmed and liberated in 2013.  Simultaneously.

I spent the past few hours un-subscribing from 100 mailing lists from whom I receive emails begging for money.  All perfectly decent causes, gun control, black theatre, saving the ocean, climate control, Unicef, the world wildlife fund, democratic causes, mercy for animals, slow money…

I un-subscribed from cook shops, travel companies, furniture stores and fashion lines.  I spent a few moments each day erasing my name from the lists I added myself in the hope of being better informed, no more Gawker or Huffington Post or the Daily Beast.

It was an odd year.  It was unusually diverse.  I continued writing my film tho I stopped talking about it.  I met thieving producers and film industry liars.  I spent time with weed smoking Susan Sarandon in the back of her ping-pong club.  

Away from the film I travelled to Martha’s Vineyard, to Des Moines and over the Rocky Mountains.   I travelled by car all over America.  Los Angeles to New York and back again… three times.  I was constantly surprised by American kindness whenever I found it.  

I fell in and out of love with AA.  In and out of love with the gays tho… mostly out of love.

We are presently finalizing our divorce.

During the past months I began a strange adventure with a young man who I tentatively call my boy friend.  I began to dream again… of better things… even though I am still cautious and burned.  Erring toward single at all times.

I wrote a great deal but never published a word of it.

I wrote indignant things like this…

I am queer.  They are gay.  They are white and affluent.  They want to get married and join the army.  They want to assimilate.  That’s what they say.

When you question them… when you ask them what assimilation looks like… they still want to keep gay pride, gay bars, gay apps, gay film festivals, gay morality.

They want the gay section in the bookshop, the ‘gay voice’ section in The Huffington Post.  They don’t really understand what assimilation looks like because most of them are too comfy not assimilating.

He said, “This is all about your internalized homophobia.” I smiled.  “It’s not internalized, it’s externalized.”

One can devote ones life to betrayal.  Betrayed by parents, family members, institutions, schools, by loved ones even the country of ones origin.  I have felt a smidgen from all of the above.  Yet, I forgave my family, my school, the class system, my beloved country.

Because I wanted to be free.

I huffed and puffed about the NSA, I applauded Glen Greenwald and Chelsea Manning and Ed Snowdon.  I stopped worrying about who could read whatever I was writing privately or which ever websites I was wacking to because there is nothing private.  Not any more.

I met literary heroes on Fire Island like Andy Tobias and had breakfast with John Walters, I spent sultry nights on Cape Cod.  I started Anger Management classes and enjoy them tremendously.

My counsellor asks things like, “Where in your body to you feel the anger first?”

I began to identify the genesis of my anger and feelings of uncomfortability.  It usually starts with a demand for money from a worthy cause.  A picture or video of a screaming rabbit as it is having it’s fur pulled off or a pile of euthanized dogs waiting to be incinerated.

It was the hopelessness that infuriated me, the cruelty, the stupidity, the hypocrisy.

I came to conclusions in 2013.  That I do not, have never had, am not interested in… A CAREER!   Careers, I realized, are… for other people.  For those who may be interested in a legacy.  I stopped calling myself a film maker and started telling people, if they asked, that I do… nothing.

I understood that wherever I found myself both good or bad I was meant to be.  It was all for a reason.  A reason that would one day be revealed to me.  That my life was a series of choreographed moments. The life of a narcissist.  That the cameras I learned to love whilst in the reality show had always been there and had never gone away.

In 2013 I never gave up.  I waited patiently.  I didn’t worry about the future nor was I enslaved to the past.  For this I was grateful.

Occasionally I hankered to go home but knew that after a few days in Whitstable I would find my life shrinking and darkening.  I did not go home.  Though, I spoke more to my Mother this year and was curious about my nieces and nephews.

Finally the JB entanglement came to an end one nondescript day in November.  I wanted to write to him and make amends for the mess I had caused.

But I wrote this instead… it was never sent.

An apology is owed.

I was wrong to lie to you.  I was wrong to lose my temper.  I was wrong to fight you.  I was wrong to have asked for money to be paid when you owed me nothing.  I was wrong to have blamed you for any part of our unhealthy association.  The blame must fall squarely at my feet for everything that went wrong.   The moment you came out I should have politely walked way… I did not.   I was advised by everyone I knew and cared about… to walk away from you but chose to ignore their good suggestion.   I should have thanked you and walked away.  I regret very much that I did not.  I am extremely remorseful.  Due to my weakness of character I initiated a drama that harmed you and caused distress to your family.  I should have walked away.  The moment you told me you were gay.   I know that you are happy now.   I know that your happiness will continue.

It took two years to own up.

2013.  Un-subscribing to websites, making amends, keeping my side of the street clean, owning up, anger management.

Let’s see what 2014 will bring.

As the years pass by, unrelenting, amazing, fulfilling, desperate, happy, sad.

Even though I have filled my homes with art and furniture and friends and the lingering smells of delicious feasts… even though I have made films and plays and paintings…. all I have ever wanted, really craved… was peace of mind.

I’m getting there.  Slowly.  A Happy and Prosperous New Year everyone.

I spent most of last week staying with friends on Fire Island.

The Island community has all but vanished for the season.  I spent my time writing and rewriting the script… exploring abandoned holiday houses and taking pictures of them.

Interior Island House Detail

I walked most days to the Canteen, a little coffee shop, and sat with a dwindling cast of island stragglers.

When I returned to the city I moved into my glorious apartment on Gramercy Park.

I am having a very Manhattan experience.  Doormen, broken elevators, great views, little old lady neighbours.

The best thing about this apartment?  It’s so damned cheap.

Returned to see Rufus Wainwright and support a friend’s charity.

I hung at SPiN with Franck and ate sliders and spicy chicken.

IMG_6196

I was invited to the RRL Motorcycle party and sank into a mire of Americana.

Occasionally I would take the L to Brooklyn and see old friends.

All in all it has been a very easy return to Manhattan.  Heading East.  Heading in the right direction.

At some point I walked the dogs and eventually I made it to my bed.

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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

I am flying to LA today.  My work here is done.  I will be in LA for the rest of the summer.  There are tomatoes to look after.  Twins to tend.  Well, not all the summer…I’ll be back.

I am going to have a dinner for my actual birthday next week.

Yesterday I returned to the city from Fire Island.  I woke at 7am and after my rather wonderful encounter with Neil we cleaned the house, made breakfast and fought our way to the ferry through the invading drag queens.  Do you know about this Fire Island tradition?  Every Independence Day the trannys of Cherry Grove invade The Pines.

That’s it really. A bunch of trannys get on a huge boat, one full ferry boat after another, land in The Pines and start drinking…and drinking.   During all the years I lived on Fire Island with Joe I only ever saw the Invasion once and that was as I was leaving on a ferry for higher ground.

The train to Penn Station was all fucked up.  When I arrived in NYC I hung out with Alex and Toby at The Soho Grand.

FJ invited me to his apartment to see the fireworks but we decided to walk to the river with the people and watch what turned out to be a remarkable display.  Bumped into various friends including Alexei Muniak from LA.   Ate middle eastern food and chocolate.

I really wanted to see the fireworks.  Last July 4th Jake and me were flying over the very same fireworks on our way to Paris.  I remember quite clearly being very fearful.  Before we left I sat him down and told him how worried I was that when we came back I would miss him badly.  I was really scared.  He said, “We’ll deal with that then.”

We never dealt with it.  It festers in me to this day.  In September I return to the city and we will yet again face each other in court.

Is this the way he ‘deals’ with things?

7am 4th July. Yesterday I must have walked between The Pines and Cherry Grove a dozen times.

I woke up in The Pines and fell asleep exhausted in Cherry Grove.

Benoit and I went to a ‘media’ party in some huge house on the bay. What differentiated it from any other party was not immediately apparent.

The half naked men and boys looked identical to all the other men and boys at similar parties elsewhere.  I was introduced to the new editor of the Advocate. He too was half naked. He looked at me suspiciously and so he should. I have no interest in him.

By 2 in the afternoon everyone was trashed and the toxicity began to get to me. I kept thinking to myself how much fun Jake would have here. How he would fit right in.

Later that day I met Stephen Macias my ex manager. He is a truly vile individual who fully took advantage of my Hollywood initiation. I will write more about that at a later date.

He looked good for someone with ‘issues’. He told me proudly that he attends Barry’s Boot Camp in LA.

I saw Mark Beard the muralist. He paints all of those Homoerotic murals in Abercrombie and Fitch. He looks like a scull on a stick. My ex Joe helped him buy his huge studio in Hells Kitchen.

Mark’s boyfriend Jim still looks great.

I hung out with Zelcho, Caroline and Todd. We ate lunch at Cherry’s. I kissed a beautiful man who I met waiting for the water taxi.

I thought more about Jake every time I felt uncomfortable. I damned myself because I had inadvertently let one of these people into my life. One of these party boys. Even though when I met him he was merely a party boy in waiting.

Later that night Caroline cooked a delicious dinner and then we met Benoit and his friends at The Top of the Bay ostensibly to listen to Neil Sedaka sing but when we got there Neil looked frail and left with his friends.

He was being bullied by an Easter European woman. He asked her, “Do you like me for me or because I’m a famous singer?”

We chatted for a while about his children and grand children and West Hollywood where he still lives with his wife of fifty years.

Benoit’s politician friend told me his coming out story. Outed at 30, left his wife. Lost his important job in politics. I asked why he hadn’t come out sooner (read get honest) and he said that he didn’t want to lose his family.

Earlier in the day I went to the AA meeting at the Fire House (6pm) where I listened to group therapy and not one word of recovery. The good looking men only listened to the other good looking men and chatted amongst themselves if the speaker was fat, old or ugly.

On several occasions I wanted to get back to NYC. Every man on the boardwalk held a cup brimming with a lethal amount of alcohol. By mid afternoon many men were staggering or slumped or glazed.

The little dog chased a young buck with velvet antlers.

As I sit writing this Neil Sedaka sat with me and told his life story. He is such a delightful man.

I applauded him for not performing last night.

He told me how Elton had given him a second chance. He told me how he had filled the Albert Hall two years ago and he asked if I had ever been in love so I told him about Jake.

He said, “It’s rich material.”

We talked about Carol King, Sinatra, Elvis and Joni Mitchell. It was compelling stuff for 9am on a balmy Fire Island morning.

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I have no idea what day it is. It may be Sunday. It is Sunday. I am on Fire Island, (The Pines) I can hear the waves crashing on the beach. The little dog is desperate to get out onto the board walks. Yesterday he chased a deer.

 

How we laughed.

I could have got a $100 ticket for letting him off the lead.

I am staying with Benoit Denizet-Lewis and his utterly gorgeous friends. Well, some of them are. The ones he lives with in Boston are charming. The rest, although beautiful, are a bit snippy. There must be fifty ipads in this house. The fridge is stuffed with sliced turkey.

Must walk on beach and buy coffee.

We arrived yesterday afternoon, Toby, Charlie and me. Had lunch (salad Nicoise) with Lawrence and his friends overlooking the bay. The house is charming. Surrounded by pom-pom hydrangea. Lilac coloured blooms. Ten of us for lunch.

David Collins very pretty ex-colleague at lunch bitching about his ex-boss.

It’s sadly true that when David befriended Madonna it changed his DNA. David used to be a sweet Irish boy earning a good living for himself as an interior decorator. Then he met Madonna and thought he sat amongst the gods.

Neither Charlie or Toby had been here before. So we, albeit briefly, explored the community.

I popped into Grey Gardens, the house where Joe and I used to live. It has been bought by a rather arrogant queen who told me that he had chased the lesbians away who used to be our neighbours.

The house looked exactly the same. Including all the flags and stuff hanging outside. He also bought the house to the right of the property. I will go back there today and take a picture.

After lunch Benoit and I walked via the meat rack to Cherry Grove. We met Zelko, Todd and Caroline who are staying in a rental next door to Neil Sedaka. We met him briefly yesterday. He is a legend. Also, their friend John who I have a picture of when we were really young shaving his balls in my bathroom wearing a cowboy hat that is probably still where I left it in Grey Gardens.

Cherry Grove is like The East Village. I used to hate it but now I fit right in. The boys at Benoit’s (the ones we like) all agree that Cherry Grove is less problematic…less snooty.

Since I was last here with Georgina five years ago things have changed around the dock. The Pavilion has been rebuilt. It is now a very chichi affair. There is a huge gym. It is altogether less charming than it was but not so bad. At least it doesn’t smell of rotting pineapple which I remember from before.

We ate a good lunch at a new restaurant called? Can’t remember.

There was a drinks party at the neighbours house yesterday. They had bees embroidered onto their carpet. They had navy blue Ralph Lauren interiors and discussed their silver wear like it had been designed by Faberge.

Before I went to bed I walked to the dock. The club was ramping up for a full night of joyful gayness.

Even thought I am having a great time and feel confident…I still feel a little edgy. On the edge. Like..they are not me and I am not them. I am looking for the differences rather than the similarities. Even thought I love them unconditionally I wish I would not.

I am going to look for an AA meeting. I am going to buy some coffee.

The previous day we spent with Dee and the beautiful Sean and the equally beautiful Joe.

Had dinner with Dee and Toby at the worst and most expensive restaurant I have ever been to. DEL POSTO on 10th Avenue. It belongs to Mario Batali. The space is cavernous, tacky, chilly, boring and pretentious. The wait staff are all huge and dress in ugly, ill-fitting suits: like FBI operatives.

The language they have been coached to use when describing the menu is almost old english. It is absurd. When the food arrives, in our case drizzled with different olive oils before our very eyes like they were fucking magicians…oh the disappointment! Miserable, tasteless and badly prepared.

Every dish must have been touched a hundred times by fifty different people. Had it not cost a bloody fortune it would have been laughable.

Terrible tummy later that night.

I stayed in The Standard. I have been very tired. Very tired.

Dee returned to Hong Kong the following day.

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The first time Joe ever took me to Fire Island Pines I was immediately convinced that something I had always hankered existed: a place where gay men and women of all ages could live together, experience life together and express themselves without shame.

I have heard from black friends who traveled to Africa for the first time that they experienced a sense of truly understanding how it might be to live an unfettered life.

There are exceptions.

I have just finished reading A Black Man Confronts Africa.

From 1991 to 1994, Keith Richburg was based in Nairobi as the Africa bureau chief for the Washington Post. He traveled throughout Africa, from Rwanda to Zaire, witnessing and reporting on wars, famines, mass murders, and the complexity and corruption of African politics.

Unlike many black Americans who romanticize Africa, Richburg looks back on his time there and concludes that he is simply an American, not an African-American. This is a powerful, hard-hitting book, filled with anguished soul-searching as Richburg makes his way toward that uncomfortable conclusion.

I am a gay (adopted) American.   I do not belong.  The laws of the land preclude me from being truly equal.  The streets are periodically mine but not consistently.  Really?  I thought things had changed for the gays?  Strangely, post Will and Grace things have not changed.  I urge any one of you (gay or straight) who think things may have changed for gay people in contemporary USA (and I have said this many times over):  Try holding your same sex friends hand in a street anywhere other than NYC or LA.

See what happens.

Returning to Fire Island this summer for the first time in a decade I am excited to see how things have evolved since I lived there and if the idyl I first experienced still exists.

The beautiful beach, the beautiful boys, the sunset and sunrise…no cars.   Dinner prepared by groups of men who sit down together and share.  Share being the operative word.  What ever share you may have in the house you are renting…doing things collectively is the modus operandi.

Have I idealized my memory of this slim sand bank set at the edge of the Atlantic?  Have, within a decade, my memories been burnished?

I wonder.

Firstly, finding a house to rent has been quite hard.  I guess my demands are not normal by gay Fire Island Pines standards.  When searching for a house I made it quite clear to the realtor that I am sober.  I do not drink and I do not take drugs.  I told him that I was not interested in the big gay beach parties (drug festivals).  That I am going there to write.

Almost every house that I looked at was a ‘party’ house.  Almost every person I spoke to told me that they wanted to have fun…read that as excessive drinking, drug taking and sexual unmanageability.

Having a sober person around might mean curtailing the ‘fun’.

I have heard that The Pines has become quite trashy.  I have heard that they have ruined the ambiance.

The über gays have long since deserted The Pines for The Hamptons.  Aping upper-class American straight people rather than investing in the peculiarities of The Pines.

What is it that draws me back there?  What is it that I loved so much?

Well, Joe and I had a wonderful time together in our pretty little house.  It was the nexus of gay culture and me.  For the first time in my life I saw both old and young gay people going about their business (during the day) just like common people.  Fetching their shopping on small, red carts.  Dressing up, holding hands, not dressing up…alone.

For the first time in my life I felt as if I owned the space around me, that I could not be judged in this place.

Until I got there I believed those things to be true but I had been kidding myself.

Just getting there from Manhattan was an adventure.  The car to Sayville.  The ferry ride from Sayville to the island,  the palpable excitement of the passengers.  The great piles of supplies and dogs and suitcases.

Thank you Joe for taking me there.

The first man I saw when I scrambled down the gang-plank was an elderly man with a stick walking slowly along the board walk.  It delighted me.  “Is everyone gay here Joe?”  I thought to myself that there was indeed a place where I could be free when I was his age.  I knew even then in my late 20′s that being old and gay was going to be difficult.  My premonition has come to pass.  Being old and gay is going to be horrible from what we found out when researching The Scarlett Empress.

Unless, of course you have a spare $160, 000 to buy a surrogate child who might look after you.

I had thought about going back to Whitstable in my dotage but not even Whitstable holds much allure to me.  Being the old gay man in town…I have seen the way we are treated.

When I arrived at The Pines I understood how life might play out.  The options.  I looked around and even though the bars were full of very drunk gays (I was one of them) the look on their faces was different.  They looked relaxed, they looked happy.

We went to gay bingo, we involved ourselves with the gay fire department.  We had opinions about dune reclamation.  We walked barefoot to the beach and watched the beautiful naked men play ball and walk their dogs.  We paid for limousines from JFK for our friends and delighted them with our house, our gay lives.

Our routine rarely altered.  Watching the sunset, hanging out on the dock to see who would get off the ferry.  Buying expensive food at The Pines Pantry…the store was just like any store but crammed with fancy queens buying $100 steaks.

When I got sober the AA meetings were quite small on Fire Island…now they are huge.

I really have no idea what it will be like to live out there once again for the summer.

I am excited at the prospect.

Of course there are other places where one might feel free, where YOU might feel free.  Perhaps you have already found your very own utopia elsewhere.

The Fire Island Pines experience is short-lived.  In September this utopia is disassembled.  The grand houses are shuttered, the store closes, the ferry comes but once a day.

There are other places for us to go.  Unless we vanish.  Those of us who look kindly upon our strange ‘culture’ can find our tribe elsewhere.

Not until I got to San Francisco did I have that sense of belonging once again.  Where the streets were mine.  The neighborhoods belonged to us.  Where fear and shame were banished.

Like Keith Richburg I am aware of the anthropological problems but still happy to have experienced the adventure.   Let me for a moment love it all without criticism, let me love what we have carved out for ourselves both good and bad and celebrate our difference.  Celebrate.

After Stephen left yesterday afternoon for some appointment somewhere…I lay on the sofa and mulled over the days events.  One thing was certain, The Penguin no longer rents space in my head.

I kept marveling at how I had once found him so intoxicating.  I finally saw him as others saw him.  When Charlie said, “He wasn’t like anyone I had met you with before…”  I felt vaguely insulted.   “The boys you usually introduce me to are beautiful.”

Yet, Charlie was right.  My love for him made his fascinating.   The pictures I took of him made him look like a model.   The life I handed him.  The strengths I imbued.  When I took him to Paris all he brought with him was his mediocrity.

I realized that I had never seen him, in all the time we knew each other, with anyone other than my friends and family.  To see him interact with his parents was a revelation.  They looked at his iPad and laughed.  The sham, It might have worked if his Mother didn’t look so incredibly sad.  Amongst them The Penguin looked for all the world like the entitled brat who would think nothing of taking drugs to their house, using their kitchen as a porno web casting studio or telling them bare-faced lies.

Their ‘unconditional’ love created The Penguin.   I had hinted before that this may have been the case but just seeing them together confirmed my worst fears.

I suddenly understood Jessie’s fury in a way that I had never understood it before.

He wrote:

“Well, it’s over.  She came home, got me to confess a bit more truth–that i have had sex with men before–then after a lot of kicking, hitting and screaming, she kicked me out.  I took the train to my parents’ house, where I told my mom everything (my dad is out of town which made it all a bit easier actually), and she held me and told me it will all work out.  Jessie called her to make sure I’d gotten home, which gave me some hope that she might not hate me forever…but after she got home tonight it became clear that there is no going back.  She accused me of ruining her life, of being a deceitful sociopath, of being a bad person who she wishes she never met.  This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.

 Part of me feels like I wish I’d never met you–your were a catalyst of sorts and without that catalyst everything right now would probably be as it was.  But I know that “as it was” was not as perfect as I wanted it to be, and beneath all the pain right now I know I did the right thing.  Thank you for guiding me towards the truth,,,you are so incredibly strong…I can hear it in your voice, your words.  I hope I can be as strong as you and I really want to thank you for being here for me.  I cannot fucking believe this happened today.  Love you a lot.”

The truth is:  he would never have ‘come out’ if I had not been the crazy man I am.  I had threatened to ‘un-pick’ his life and he knew that the truth had to be told.   I forced him to tell her the truth.

His lies made me physically sick.

Whilst he was with Jessie I wrote:

You are making me unhappy.  There is no fucking hope.

 I refuse to be the other person in your life whilst you selfishly shit on other people.

 It is not fair on any of us.

 I refuse to be the levelheaded guy who just puts up with you.   Then, when and if it suits you, you turn on and accuse of craziness.

 I can’t do it.

 Yes, today I felt fed up with you because I don’t trust you.  Why should I?

 Why should anyone?

 What the hell did you expect from this?  That I just have no feelings?  That we just fuck?   That you sit in your room and jerk off on camera and that was going to be enough for me?

 Jake, PLEASE stop living a lie.  Leave that poor woman.  Be single for a while then find a man to love.

 Please.

I think often about Jessie.  How he treated her.

Let’s talk about who I became yesterday.  I didn’t really like me yesterday.  I didn’t like the goose-stepping, mad man who took obnoxiously loud telephone calls in the court waiting room.  It seemed like I just had to be THAT GUY.  It seems like it’s the only way I know how to protect myself.

I was the wrong size when I left the court.  So it was that I had to get back to being the right size.   Not too big, not too small.

Alex called.  We had dinner at Angelica’s Kitchen.  I ate steamed vegetables.  We talked briefly about the day but I was done.  Done talking about The Penguin.

We fell into bed and I kissed him.   Everything felt so different.  Fresh.

Just two men in bed, two men in bed without any expectations.

I am on Fire Island this weekend house hunting for the summer.   Very excited.

http://http://www.nextmagazine.com/nexus/scene-heard-brian-rafferty-and-shawn-paul-mazur-give-royal-treatment-kings

NYC streets once again. I am staying until Sunday then I am going to Fire Island for a few days. I love it there at this time of year. Wandering around the deserted Pines, exploring the unoccupied houses.

I imagine that everyone who had a house there when Joe and I lived on Bay Walk… well they must have long gone.

Tommy Tune, David Geffen, the kindly big guy whose name I can’t remember who lived opposite. The lesbians next door who never really approved of Joe.

Joe would call out to Geffen when we saw him on the board walk, “You’re the best looking billionaire in the world.” Geffen would smile and pass on by.

Joe and I spent an entire winter together in that house on a deserted, frozen Fire Island. Nobody does that. Just the deer to keep us company. Standing silently in the snow, staring at us in the house going about our business. Warm, well fed.

I can tell you stories if you want?

It must have been this time of year that I was there with my difficult boyfriend Jamie Page and Bryan Singer and Brandon Boyce turned up with a bunch of friends (including a very young John Krokidas).

It was wild. I remember laying in bed, listening to men running over the roof.

I was drinking and taking drugs in those days so Fire Island… the gay bit, suited me just fine.

One bright, spring day I remember walking from Cherry Grove through what they called The Meat Rack or The Judy Garland Memorial Park. Why did they call it The Meat Rack? Why did they call it The Judy Garland Memorial Park? This well trodden scrub grew on the bay side of the island separating Cherry Grove and The Pines.

It was prone to mosquitos and cruising.

At night, after the dancing was over or the drugs were leading the way, the gays would high-tail down the boardwalk into the swampy thicket, the vacant dunes.

The sea pounding on the sand, night birds singing in the moon lit wood.

Here the revelers would remove the very little that they still had on and laze naked, like nymphs, will o’ the wisp. Smoking cigarettes. Checking each other out with the slightest blaze of light.

I only ever went to watch this very unique sexual theatre. Even when I was totally fucked up.

Being a terrible prude I did not let them touch me because they were patently no use. They were so inauthentic. I need men to retraumatise me…not play act. Easily resisting their insistent hands and breathy suggestions. As dawn broke over Fire Island, piercing its way into the meat rack, I would watch men grope and kiss and suck and fuck, often unable to cum as they had taken so many drugs.

Dawn breaking over their ripped and muddy underwear, their blood-shot eyes (as if they had been crying) their blood and cum and shit…like so many rape victims shamefully dragging themselves away from the scene of the crime.

It amused me that the very same men who would not go near me as they danced in drug induced congas around the stinking dance floor would be all over the ugliest trade in The Meat Rack.

As we know, after a few drinks one is not so choosy.

After a sack full of cocaine/crystal/mdma these men didn’t give a flying fuck.

Occasionally straight men would meander down the beach to The Pines, try a little something different from what was available in heterosexual Ocean Bay Park. Turning up in baggy khakis and polo shirts. We knew what they were there for. What they were looking for.

I would dream of these doe eyed nuggets turning up for me to mine.

I remember walking back from Cherry Grove one day and wandering into The Meat Rack for no better reason than it was a shorter route for getting to The Bay than walking along the beach and traversing the island…anyway, it was usually deserted during the day, mid-week, off-season.

I didn’t expect to see a soul.

I had a bag of groceries. I was 31 years old. I saw a young, blond man…no more that twenty. His sun bleached, tousled hair, baggy shorts and flip-flops betrayed him. When I said hello, the fear in his eyes, his deep voice confirmed my suspicions. A straight boy on the turn. I set the groceries by a tree and without a word I touched his face. He bit his bottom lip and let out a tiny gasp.

I let him undress me.

Boys! I had a body in those days. I looked fit! I loved the gym.

He tentatively touched my chest and ran his fingers over my biceps of which I was very proud. Guiding his hand into my shorts he cupped my balls and kissed me. He loved me so.

He was pleased to suck my nipples, he did it gently like a calf. His soft white skin, the delicate filigree copper hair on his forearms.

I pushed his fringe from his forehead so I could better see him sucking my cock. He was passionate and greedy.

I am benevolent.

Looking up at me with his flawless blue eyes. I smiled down at him, pulling the back of his neck toward me so as to better fuck his throat. He gagged slightly, his thorax constricted around my penis. The effect was very pleasing. He pulled away, a string of saliva briefly attaching us. I rolled my cock over his distended cheeks. Flushed from the recent choking.

Thanking him for his attention to detail as he set too again, as he sucked and kissed my balls working his way toward my ass.

I knelt on the leafy, forest floor and he spread my cheeks so he could better lick, probing me with his tongue. I let him work on it. Licking me, pulling my balls and cock between my legs. He ran his hand up my back. I pulled myself up so I was no longer kneeling, his face completely obscured by my thighs…as if he were being born out of my ass. A fully grown boy being born out of my ass.

He stopped for a moment and said, “Have you got anything up there for me?”

Realizing that this perfect boy wanted to eat my shit I pulled up my shorts, gathered up the groceries and didn’t look back.

Be careful what you pray for.

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