Sunday 23rd 2012.
New Harris tweed trousers. They are so thick and keep the cold wind from whipping around my legs.
I had two very different experiences on Friday.
The first, an unfortunate spat on Facebook with a Canadian writer called Michael Rowe.
I think you know, those of you who read this regularly, that I struggle with marriage as the means by which gay and straight people find parity.
That marriage in of itself doesn’t seem to work for many of the people who sign up for it… so why do so many men and women in the LGBQ community want it so badly?
Is it just because they want the ‘benefits’?
I thought about it a great deal this week.
For those of us gay men and women who are now in our early fifties marriage was never an option. I never hankered after it, nor cared to think about it.
I read this in a British newspaper.
British MPs are planning to create an “exception” in marriage law for same-sex couples and will not alter the definition of adultery.
Either they don’t take us seriously or we don’t take us seriously?
Perhaps gay marriage is indeed separate from straight marriage because we can’t be trusted with monogamy?
Those I respect seem to value marriage equality… so I have been posting thoughts and feelings on my Facebook page.
I am perturbed by how many angry responses I get whenever I write about my marriage equality concerns.
If marriage equality was all we needed or wanted are we selling ourself short? Are we like any cultural minority that lives side by side the majority needing to be tolerated rather than nurtured? Do we need to be understood? Do they need to learn our language? Or, like Hasidic Jews do we evolve separately once we are ‘equal’. Somehow this is not attractive to me.
This question incensed Michael Rowe.
Where are you getting “all we needed or wanted” from? It’s a basic right. That’s not “tolerance,” that’s equality and strength.
The conversation continued privately.
Talking to Michael was like talking to a Zionist. Realizing that his problem with what I was saying was more about me than the conversation I decided to tread carefully. He is the sort of man who believes that any gay who comes out of the closet is an unqualified hero.
I’m not an intellectual, nor am I particularly bright… but I am willing to listen… and I am desperate to understand why I am so conflicted about marriage equality.
Because, I think, it doesn’t seem like equality at all.
So, why am I bothering to fight for something I simply don’t believe in?
It feels like another way to join another elite gang. A gang that will, if given half the chance, bully you mercilessly.
I’ve seen straight women do this. Brag about their married status to their unmarried friends. Causing those unmarried women to burst into tears when they are far enough away from their persecutor.
I asked Michael what he thought marriage would do to our gay culture. I said, I really want to understand your position.
Not sure what there is to “understand.” Until there is no foundation of complete legal equality for LGBT people, the rest of it, worrying about “our culture,” is frosting with no cake. That’s my position.
Our gay culture is very important to me. Even if it is on a separate page, in it’s own section at the book shop or the video store or on Netflix. I enjoy the separation. You see, I’m not very interested in what straight people make of me or the culture that has sprung up around me.
What will marriage equality do to the gay community?
How will these huge changes affect us and our behavior toward other gay man and women.
If a gay man tells his straight friend that he is getting married will his straight friend feel a flush of envy?
I asked if Michael felt ‘more equal’ than his American friends? He said:
Of course I do. I have approximately 300 more rights than American gay couples whose relationships are not legally recognized, rights that have financial and legal implications.
And no, I don’t feel sorry for gay couples who aren’t married by their choice, but I do feel sorry for those who don’t have that choice.
I don’t think that screaming about how proud you are not to be married carries a lot of weight when that right isn’t even on the table.
Like employment protection. Or do you also feel that a law that protects LGBT Americans from being fired also hurts “our culture?”
Oh dear, Michael was watching the NRA press conference at the time so his irritation may be excused.
He is, as you know, a very important Huffington Post blogger.
A ‘gay voice’. In the separate but equal ‘gay voice’ section of the Huff Post.
There is a great deal in this last quote that may make you wince… as I winced.
I come from England where Tony Blair gave Waheed Ali carte blanche to equalize the lives of hetero and homo sexual people.
I remember eating lunch in Malibu with Waheed who explained to me how the legislation was written.
He explained that the word Marriage may have been attractive to some but perhaps a little too divisive. They chose civil unions as the way forward.
Total equality (excluding the word marriage) was a great incremental step in the right direction and one that the majority of my gay friends in long-term relationships were happy to embrace.
Michael is not so sure.
“Civil unions” aren’t marriage, and they’re not equality.
He continued inaccurately:
They weren’t “chosen,” they were all they could get because no one would allow them to be married, with full marriage equality, including the rights of citizenship for spouses.
Just to be perfectly clear: the British do have rights for citizenship for spouses and UNMARRIED partners.
Now, that’s what I’m talking about.
After many years of legal parity, the British gays… from a position of strength are asking for the word marriage and asking a very conservative government to boot. They are certain to succeed.
Civil Union may be the best incremental baby step on offer?
What are the incremental baby steps that seem to get American gays no closer to federal recognition of same-sex marriage?
Married Michael Rowe is very proud of his life.
He has achieved what his parents probably wanted for him all through his childhood. The dream of a heteronormative existence.
The rest of the conversation disintegrated into name calling. He called me tiresome, I ended up calling him a cunt and he blocked me on FB and that was that.
If I were in my early thirties I might think that this is a golden age for gay men and lesbians. That I could enjoy a fully ‘out’ existence, meet the man of my dreams, marry him, buy some surrogate children and live happily ever after.
That is a perfectly lovely dream to have.
But I am still in two minds. Shouldn’t we all be fighting for something more than marriage, that marriage should not allow those who are to have so much more than those who are not?
This is not equality.
Some married gay men (like Michael) are already behaving like my mother and grandmother behaved toward their spinster/old maid/barren friends. Looking down their married noses.
Do I feel cheated out of different sort of gay life? If I had grown up around gay men getting married would I have thought differently about the men I dated and the future we could have had?
I have, undoubtedly, missed the man/man marriage boat. Joe and I talked about it briefly.
When I was growing up the thought of marriage (one man to another) was simply not a consideration. Like an orthodox jew would never think about eating bacon. I didn’t really think anything of not being married.
Being brought up in a small town where the majority of my straight peers had children but no marriage… marriage seemed Victorian and absurd. The people who were getting married were not… cool. They were… boring.
My straight friends who remained unmarried with many children did very well for themselves. They ran successful businesses. Their children went to great universities. They struggled and excelled equally along side those children who came from married families and broken homes.
There really was no difference between them and any other child.
The emphasis on family values seems to have gripped the gays as firmly as the straights.
What ever family means we don’t want to be left out of the explanation.
We all have a family of sorts. Some have blood relatives, others have an extended family of strangers.
Obviously, I have invested in the latter and have never been let down.
Which brings me to the final part of my blog today.
Sitting with the dogs on Franklin outside my coffee shop of choice I met a young Rabbi.
Charming, Cambridge educated and very enthusiastic.
He invited me to Shabbat the following Friday night.
I had, of course, enjoyed many a Friday night with the Cohen’s in LA. David, his wife and their 6 children. 40 people for pot luck dinner around a huge table on the lawn then talking about world events with a talking stick. It was perfect.
This Shabbat was very different.
There were several rabbinical students. I arrived mid prayer. For an hour we prayed.
The most exquisite boy with the most beautiful voice (and a baby) sang something on his own before the others joined in. When he started singing I began to cry.
They prayed and sang (they sang in Hebrew) and faced East, my rabbi friend was particularly enthusiastic. I sat beside him and he kept apologizing for everything, as if it were a trial for me to be there… when in fact it was beautiful.
I sat there thinking about the gays. After my run in with Michael.
I wondered if they would have confused my thoughts about how beautiful the singer was with wanting to fuck him. That most of my gay friends wouldn’t have just enjoyed him, they would have wanted to fuck him. ”He’s hot…”
We ate a huge dinner. We washed our hands ritually. After the dinner and conversations with truly wonderful people (I avoided talking Palestine) we sat together for more prayers and a fascinating chat about the Torah.
The young rabbinical students and scholars discussed in a really modern and interesting way what I had been taught was the Old Testament.
Jacob, Joseph and the blessing of the Pharaoh:
My years have been few and difficult.
They talked about other things.
A young man with thick, raven black hair told us he had just visited Sandy Hook. To offer ‘solace’.
At first I was irritated by the apparent intrusion, it seemed so arrogant.
I was wrong.
He explained that the town was packed with people from all over the world. That he had witnessed a funeral of one of the murdered children and the parents of the dead child were holding up signs in the car that said, very simply: ”THANK YOU.”
I found him after dinner and thanked him for reminding me that it’s easy to let other people do the difficult tasks.
If Sandy Hook had been an isolated incident then I might have felt differently but Sandy Hook is part of a macabre American theme and we must all, collectively… own it.
It is our responsibility.
That young Jewish man and his five friends had taken responsibility and travelled to Sandy Hook.
By doing so, they had a spiritual awakening. They were thanked by the parents of dead infants.
They understood (unlike those of us who did not go) something more about America, about bravery, about priority, about consequence.
The two parts of my day could not have been more different. The childish spat with an entitled gay man and the spiritual warmth of new family offered me by a group of heterosexual strangers.
Inclusion versus exclusion.
Last night Lady Rizo and I had dinner with Winston Churchill’s granddaughter. I was not the only gay at the dinner for 50. I avoided the other gays.
I have nothing to say to any of them.
New York City. September 2012.
How exquisite the weather is. How gorgeous the men are. How much the Little Dog loves the street.
I sit in Cafe Zelda on Franklin and drink coffee and eat the home-made pop tarts full of delicious raspberry jam.
I take the subway to Union Square or to 42nd Street.
Of course I’ve been taking masses of pictures… some of which I post on here.
The other part of the story?
Hanging most days at The Mercer Hotel.
I much prefer The Mercer. I am so over my private club… especially since the piss elegant renovations. The newly decorated corridors in the hotel part of my club look like the old corridors from The Shining… sans creepy twins.
The staff have all been replaced and the service was terrible. Waiting 40 mins for a cup of coffee.
The manager at The Mercer installs me at a sweet little table where I meet actors and actresses. I am currently casting my movie.
I had lunch with Lady Rizo and Alexander. Great fun catching up.
I bumped into the perfectly charming Josh Hartnett and his girlfriend Tamsin. Malibu friend. Josh is very excited about the film he’s directing and Tamsin was off to Spain to make a movie.
Bryan Singer fell into the lobby a little hung over and after a big, sweaty hug sat with his LA friends.
Powerful LA people seldom manage to maintain their power once in NYC. Especially during fashion week. The cheap veneer falling away for all to see what lays within.
Met a very frosty Olivia Wilde with the perennially cheerful Paul Haggis. It was probably my fault she was so grumpy. I said, “Oh hi, I know Tao… your ex-husband.” Her face dropped. “My EX husband.” She stressed.
When are you not meant to mention the ex? I thought their divorce was amicable? Then I made the situation worse by telling her how wonderful she was in People Like Us… considering what a ghastly film it was.
Paul just looked at me fall deeper into the shit storm… of my own… making.
Dinner at Bond St. with CM.
A wonderfully romantic walk by the piers with an occasional love.
Housewives of NYC and second-rate rappers. Food was good tho.
Chatted with a new gay dad who told me emphatically that I should support ‘gay marriage’. He showed me a video of his kid crawling. The video was taken from across the room. He told me that he rarely sees his kid during the week.
I asked him what I ask my straight friends: “Did you take maternity leave?” No! He guffawed. Why would he do that?
The kid is being brought up by nannies. Of course.
It made a bad party worse. I tried not to react… I really tried.
Currently writing my AA expose piece. It’s proving harder than I imagined.
It was a day. Yes. Yesterday was a long day. Good. Kind. Revealing.
I walked the dogs. Through the bourgeois streets of suburban Malibu. Early morning. Before the sun breaks through.
I have struggled with writing both the end of the film and the novel. Because, I suppose, they are both so firmly planted in the experience of being me.
My Producer is fine with everything. Everything but the last page. He wants an epiphany.
So, that’s what I am striving for.
The film is about a sociopath, a charming sociopath. In fact, the film is about two sociopaths.
I can’t discount my own bat shit craziness. Let’s face it… I did some terrible things.
For those of you who have been reading this blog for the past two years… I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the balanced and sensitive way I have drawn the characters… but that is not my credit to take.. it is my dear Producers influence.
If I had my way there would have been murders my dear…
His genius for editing and re positioning.. for making me (and you) care for the person I loathed and loved.
For revealing the truth.
I headed into town at 11 to meet my assistant at the club.
I’m test shooting cast this Sunday and having informal crew meetings. I met a very competent First AD this week.
I bumped into Nona Summers who was with a loathsome Greek from my distant past.
Jacob has excellent taste.
I am heartened that these smart young gay men are once again beginning to tell their stories.
For the longest time young gay film makers shucked their own experience in favour of chasing a bigger, straighter audience.
As a result… our community became less vibrant.
The gay film festival circuit, until recently, was lack luster and uninspiring… this year, at Outfest, there were so many interesting and well made gay films. It warmed the cockles of my homo heart.
Gay men want, understandably, well made films with high production values but financiers are loathed to invest… scared that the audience wont come.
The tide is turning.
Brock pitched up looking incredibly sexy in a tight, pale blue polo shirt.
We ate Caesar salad with added chicken.
After lunch we met Rafi Gavron the hot, hot, hot British actor who was ass raped in the TV series Rome. He was with his cousin Dean McKillen the owner of the super chic new restaurant Laurel Hardware in West Hollywood.
Dean invited us for dinner on Saturday.
Brock and I hung with Kevin and Fielder at their home on Martel then decided we would preempt the Saturday invite and go to Laurel Hardware.
The place was packed with a really interesting crowd. A smattering of Young Hollywood and some cool looking gay men. Dean made us feel very welcome, sending us delicious pizzas covered with burrata and basil.
The boys drank beer and I didn’t.
I drove Brock back to his car and met up with my night-time companion, collapsed into bed.
There is an odd collision of circumstance:
Jacob is the best friend of the best lesbian friend of you know who.
One degree of separation.
It doesn’t surprise me. It is a very small world.
We trawled through Facebook.
I looked in awe at pictures of my ex and his new boyfriend. They are indeed an unusual couple. Dressed in outrageous and colourful garb. When my ex’s bf wears his heels he must be 7 foot tall.
There was a picture of them holding each other in a bucolic setting. My ex is quite short and his beau wore heels. The height differential was staggering. It looked like a post wedding picture.
You know, after the vows.
I wondered what they would wear when they actually got married. If Thom Browne would make the costume.
They looked very, very happy.
Diane Arbus would have photographed them. I mean, it was like that… like a Diane Arbus picture.
I expect to feel different things when I see them together but I always feel the same. I am truly happy that he is happy. From a distance I share their obvious happiness. It is a relief.
I am pleased that even though we will never know each other… will never speak ever again… that I was indeed somehow, in some way responsible for forcing that boy out of the closet and into the life he should have enjoyed since his teens.
Mostly I congratulate myself for saving her.
It baffled me, for the longest time what terrified him about being gay. I understand now. He wasn’t scared of being gay, he was scared of being that kind of gay. Flamboyant, creative, a dandy.
Every time I see him in the virtual street my questions are answered. A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words.
I hope that she is doing ok, that she has found a good man. An honest man. I wonder if she forgave him? I mean, there’s only so long one can hold such hatred in one’s heart.
Perhaps one day she will thank me. I don’t expect any thanks from him.
My great friend, the abundantly talented Lady Rizo is off to the Edinburgh Festival. Packing her Marchesa frocks and her false eye lashes. I urge my British friends to urgently seek her out.
You will not be disappointed.
I am headed to Provincetown to stay with Benoit.
In Northern Arizona he found another big, black dog, a stray he called Rez on an Indian reservation. Her nipples torn from a recent litter, she had a bladder infection and a bad ear but he, with Cesar Millan‘s help, put her back together again.
It’s been very busy at Chez Duncan.
Sans follow spot, her work cut out for her, she did a miraculous job. Special guest Moby had the audience rippling with excitement.
Twins had their birthday…can’t remember if I’ve already written about that? Anyway, it was a miserable afternoon (storm clouds) but we had a great time and I cooked a huge feast. They moved out of my house the following day and into their new apartment in Hollywood.
I’ve seen quite a bit of Robby..of course..since then but little of Miles who is busily writing a documentary about (from what I’ve been told) attraction.
I testified downtown at City Hall before the city deputies. Prison Violence. I told them what I had witnessed at the Men’s County Jail. They, in turn, asked questions. They looked at me very curiously, peering over their lecture.
One of them had read the Richard Rushfield piece in the LA Weekly and quoted it.
I left down town, the fierce heat, drove over to Robby’s house and fell asleep on his sofa. I found it all very exhausting.
On Saturday I went to Honor Fraser‘s galleryon La Cienega to see the hightly anticipated Kenny Scharf show. He was in fine spirits. Showing good new work, performance art by Ann Magnuson and a great crowd.
Sam McEwan flew from London. We are all looking old….apart from Honor who just looks more wonderful and chic…wearing Alaia.
“Hodgepodge,” featured paintings, sculptures, and a Cosmic Cavern installation.
The centerpiece, a gaudy customized Cadillac served as Ann Magnuson’s stage for her performance work “Finism”.
First performed in 1984 the piece was fresh, enticing and, of course, very funny.
I liked the picnic table with an atomic mushroom cloud exploding from it that forms a parasol.
“Hodgepodge” runs until May 19.
Wish I hadn’t sold my Scharf. What a moron I am.
Then, rather amazingly, I bumped into Marius Bercea the artist showing next door at the Francois Ghebaly Gallery. He reminded me that we had met at the Cluj Film Festival in Romania a decade ago.
He was just a kid who took me back to his studio.
I remember being impressed, writing about him in my diary, now look at him. We sat outside the gallery and smoked cigarettes and ate doughnuts off the Cadillac parked at the back of the Scharf show.
Lunch with Mike Manning, his super smart sexy boy friend and Fielder. Mike has tiny eyebrows.
Thankfully, since my AA Big Book burning tirade most of my AA friends have unfriended me on FaceBook saving me the time and effort. I think my blog has caused some amusement and consternation…judging by the number of people reading it. Fuck AA LA.
I’ll write at length some other time about my years in LA AA, the cult with a smiley face.
Look at the gorgeous things from the Out of The Box Collective vegetable delivery. The spring flower box. Delicious.
Here are some of the pictures Dan took last week at my party…I will add them as and when they arrive. I am having my LA birthday party tonight….should be fun.
Dan took all the pics but thankfully had one of himself.
Ian Drew and Bradley from US Weekly…who told me yesterday that I am indeed in the upcoming A List.
This trip to NYC changed darling Robby’s life.
Sweet friends from LA Jess and her lover.
Victoria Whitbread and her friend Tom with Dee Mansfield who flew from Hong Kong for my party.
Yaniv, Michael (GLADD) and Cyndi Stivers who started Time Out NY
Chase and Joey from The Black Soft came and not only performed their new song for me but totally wowed their new audience.
Zach and Alex
Joan, Lady Rizo and Joe
Greg Lucas and David Stillman Meyer
Kaolin, Friend and Zach
Lady Rizo and Donovan.
Duncan, Charlie Parsons and Tom Desanto
Jeff and Robby
And over to you LADY RIZO!!!
OK, that’s it! More tomorrow from tonight’s party.
Day after day the sun shines and the people shed their winter clothes revealing their creamy skin. The dog and I traverse the city, traveling from one exciting assignation to another. Yesterday was no exception.
I woke early helping Dan with his luggage. He is off to LA until Wednesday. I really don’t like it when he leaves. We get closer and closer. He is kind, generous and appreciative. We are the same age. Our perspective is very similar.
I have been thinking a great deal about how I am going to spend the summer. I continue to write my film. Bumped into Paul Haggis yesterday who asked about my film. He loved the story…as most people do.
I couldn’t go back to bed after Dan left so I walked the dog around the deserted East Village until I bumped into a young friend of mine. A yoga teacher. We drank coffee and ate pain au chocolate at Ost on Avenue A. He is the sweetest young man. Looks directly into your soul.
We are going to spend the day together tomorrow.
Met Lady Rizo for lunch (chopped salad) then we took a cab to my lawyer on Wall Street. Driving the West Side Highway we passed office workers taking their lunch walking the water front. A brief moment in the sun.
I had to sign a bunch of papers. I signed them whilst Rizo bought us ice creams. As we were in an unknown part of town we decided to explore and ended up in a tiny Italian Deli eating profiteroles and singing show tunes out loud. She has a hugely exciting gig in June. In the mean time come see her perform on May 20th at Joe’s Pub.
Took Subway (I never do) back home and rested for an hour. Met Rizo’s friend Gilly on the corner of Tenth and A just as a skateboarder was nearly run down in front of our very eyes. He escaped death by jumping over the hood of the car.
My second ‘scene’ for the ‘A’ List. Austin is throwing a ‘party’ at this cavernous restaurant called Almond. It seemed designed for me to explain why Derek Lloyd Saathoff had wanted me to be his ‘Mister Big’.
I was uncharacteristically nervous meeting the other cast members. They are all very charming.
Obviously they have their on-screen personalities.
TJ is very ebullient when the cameras are on. Thrown directly into the ‘A’ List mix, TJ positioned me like an on set director and asked acerbic questions and about me and Derek. I came clean. He was quite strident. Off camera he is affectionate and warm. They all are.
Reichen Lehmkuhl seemed reticent and quiet. He has a troubled soul. Very beautiful, great story, gentle. I liked him. His brother lives very close to me in Malibu. I spent the most time chatting with him. We talked a great deal about how one can get ones needs met in a relationship. I told him The Penguin story as my very own reality cast member cautionary tale.
Crazed fans who think you are what you are not.
We talked about how we are edited, how one is perceived. The reality and the fantasy of ones on-screen and off-screen persona.
I really enjoyed meeting Ryan the salon owner. Blond, sweet-natured and very genuine.
This is their second season. They have become very adept performers.
I have no idea if I will ever see any of them ever again.
Stephen joined us and Rizo, Gilly and I ate dinner at Westville. I bought The Little Dog a chicken breast as he had been so good all day.
Tonight is the very last night of Beige the long running weekly party held at The Bowery Bar. It must be twenty years old. I went there first when I was still drinking so it must be ancient. Remember dragging Joe there? I think he enjoyed it despite his protestations. I will be there tonight if anyone wants to serve papers. Zach said, “Nobody gets laid at Beige.” which was never my experience.
I remember staying at The Mercer and dragging a drunk straight boy back from Beige for oral gratification. Oh God, that was many years ago. I remember…do you?
Now that I am here.
It’s been so cold. Where’s my beach in the sun when I need it?
Last night I went to the theatre with Amelia. The Soho Rep below Canal.
Dinner after the show at Macao Trading Co. paid for, very kindly, by the owners.
The theatre show was called Jomama Jones: Radiate. Jomama (drag queen) is a returning seventies singing sensation.
Glittering costumes, huge fro. Jomama lives in exile in Switzerland because she feels alienated from her mother land.
When asked to return to perform by a new generation of fans she agrees. The show is that show. It was really beautifully conceived. Great set and costumes…amazing music. Beautifully performed.
The story really worked except the end which was a bit mawkish and sophomoric. Even so, probably the best fringe theatre show I had ever seen in NYC excepting Weimar New York…which I ended up producing in LA. The Green Door never ever paid us for putting on that show.
My favorite part of Jomama Jones Radiate was when she described how she fell from grace. When the record execs heard her angry political ‘new’ album…”They told me to relax! They told me to relax my lyrics, my performance and…my hair.” When she refused her record label let her go.
Lady Rizo and I were invited up on stage to dance. It was quite liberating to do so in front of a packed house. Loved it.
Spent today receiving friends. Getting into it. Selling art. Going to make my movie.
One of the unseen moments in Sex Rehab included our crafting in clay what our sex addiction looked like. The monster inside. Mine was a fragile baby. So fragile in fact that it’s head fell off the day after we made them.
The baby is somewhere in the house but I can’t find it. When I find it I will take a picture of it and post it here.
The idea of the bad baby stems from something my step-father once said to me, that I was a ‘bad baby’. Of course that’s absurd isn’t it? A distressed baby maybe but not bad?
One of my performance pieces was called Bad Baby. The mother in the performance lived in the fridge.
As for Elsie de Witt? Well, she’s a character that I invented with Lady Rizo during one of our epic two-hour putting the world to rights telephone calls. Elsie is the great chantreuse, the over stuffed opera singer who resides within..as well as the bad baby who also inhabits my currently very thin frame. The dramatic and dynamic Elsie and the screaming baby.
Finally received some of the money that JB owes me so in a gesture of good will I took down his full name in my blog. His spidery, fragile hand writing all over the cheque softened my heart. Now all he has to do is send the rest. I wrote to him offering to reduce the amount of money he owes me if he would just show willing and send it.
As JB fulfills his obligation to me I feel myself detaching from him in a positive way. He has held on for too long by owing me this cash.
I wrote him a conciliatory note urging him to send the rest of the money. I imagine that he wants to go to court and fight and that is his prerogative but all this will achieve is yet another cataclysmic collision. I imagine that he is being urged on by his new gay friends who never like to take any responsibility for anything. His new cheerleading team after I was dismissed.
Occasionally they write to me. His new friends. It’s funny.
So much more is happening in my life than you can imagine but I cannot write it. I don’t want to jinx potential job opportunities, burgeoning romances. I am loathed to write even the silly things..like the spa in my garden that I have renovated and is now operational. It’s the oddest contraption. Heated by an ingenious wood burning stove which almost boils the water like a huge kettle. A friend and I sat in it last night under the stars, looking out over the ocean lit by the full moon.
Willie, as he is predisposed, stole my friend’s sock.
Do I at moments like this wish that it was JB in the spa? Well, less so. Those are indeed moments that should be shared with a lover. He had ceased to be my lover, to be my one and only long before we ever left for France. He was just pretending to my lover. I felt the disconnection. Knowing that he probably already had someone else to fixate on.
I realize now that he had already met somebody else and simply came to France because he could.
Yesterday I went to therapy for the first time in ages. The theme was integrity and the others mused upon the lies they had told to wives and co-workers..yet to me a lie is subjective and we live in lying times. The truth is subjective. As I have said before, exponentially the more honest one becomes the more isolated you feel. One can only hope to do the right thing by those we share our time. That’s all. If we can’t or don’t? Well, we make our amends.
JB was incensed that I lied to the Ferry people in Calais to get us all on board without incident after they told me that Lil’ Dog’s carrying case was made of the wrong material. If I had told the truth at that moment it would have meant taking a cab into Calais Ville buying the correct carrying case. This exercise in honesty would have cost a fortune and we would have missed endless ferries and dinner with Georgina in Whitstable.
He used that as an example of how I always told lies.
Lying about a dog’s carrying case and cheating on someone for years seem like two very different kinds of lie. One expedites an unnessessary situation the other steals a soul. Perhaps he couldn’t see the difference?
Naturally there is a philosophical conundrum for a man who says, “I always tell lies.”
I learned so much from JB about myself and others. I learned a great deal about gay men. Their attitude toward him for instance. That he had no option but to behave as he did.
At the beginning, when I met him and he came out to me, we started flirting, sex camming etc. I knew immediately that it was wrong to do what he was doing to her and as I reread emails within a few days of his coming out to me I was urging him to get honest.
I was conflicted about his coming out as we became closer.
It suited me that he was with her because I knew where he was at night. I knew that he was mine. I knew that the moment he was free of her he would be just like all the rest.
Everyday this JB stuff gets better in my head. As I sift through every detail. As I attempt falteringly to detatch with love rather than hate.
Spent the larger part of this morning in bed skyping with Tim Willis whose book about Nigel Dempster hits the shelves today in the UK.
When I was a small boy living in Stanley Road, Whitstable I used to just love reading his column. A window into another altogether more exciting world. A world with which my Mother was very familiar from her days working as a waitress in the Carlton Club.
I was secretly shocked and delighted by his salacious Royal gossip. Dempster’s code name for the Queen when he wrote about her in Private Eye: Brenda.
I think more than anyone it was he who inspired prepubescent me to search out the fun-loving aristocrat and the demi-monde. I alluded to him at the beginning of my film AKA.
Years later he wrote about me unfavourably after I was caught pretending to be ‘one of them’.
Nigel Dempster and the Death of Discretion published by Short Books. Buy it.
Today I am strangely at peace with myself. It’s been this way more often than not these past few days. I have no idea why. I guess because I am no longer in love. No longer pining. No longer focused on another. I am listening to Copeland, majestic strings elevating the view, the moment..this life!
Two good friends called for advice. Isn’t that strange? I can help others when I tend not to be able to help myself.
Now that my fantasy of loving another has been safely stowed in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of me I can concentrate on what I do best. Dreaming. The dream of love is so much better than the reality. Good God it is so exhausting being in love. So consuming. Being in hate can be just as tiring. Thankfully I am neither.
I have named the lil maggot on my ball. A pain in the balls. I have a picture of my tumor. I will put it up when I can.
Just spilled water all over my lap top which after a few shakes is now working again. So clumsy today. All over the place.
Firstly, I have to tell you THIS: The NYC heat is frying my brain.
Now, I must tell you this:
I have been sitting on/keeping from you an insane and shocking moment the past couple of months. I just didn’t know how or if I should even mention it.
One of my freaky Hollywood neighbors text me after we had dinner before I left California asking if I had ever ‘been intimate with the little dog?’ it was NOT a joke.
He intimated that he had ‘feelings’ for his kitten.
I really didn’t know what to do.
I urged him to get help.
This is just one of the many reasons I don’t want to go back to LA. I missed my flight – overslept. Had to buy another ticket. It’s all the same. There must be more insane/lonely/desperate people per square mile in LA than any other city in the USA.
I know that this might sound a bit racist but every time a Korean looks at the little dog I wonder if they are thinking what sauce they would eat him with. Once, outside the Mud Cafe on 9th a Korean told me with a smug smile that she could not understand our absurd preoccupation with an animal that they grill.
Saw the Kids are Alright yesterday evening with Amelia. We had a lovely lunch in Williamsburg. We made plans after her genius performance at Joe’s Pub the previous night. I had to walk over the boiling hot Williamsburg Bridge as it was unexpectedly closed to traffic. Walking over the bridge made it all the more exciting adventure.
After our lovely lunch in Williamsburg– omelets and watermelon/mint juice we, Amelia and I hunted the shops for exciting sale items. I bought socks and underwear at the 70% off Paul Smith Shop.
This is the performance from the night before:
Saw Amelia perform Lady Rizo with Jake. He loved the show.
Afterwards we hung with Amelia and her husband at a small bar on Lafayette.
The following afternoon me and Jake bid our adieu. I have absolutely no idea if or when we will see each other ever again. We have not made plans. We will see each other if it feels right I suppose.
Last night, the streets were boiling hot and humid. At night the thunder, lightning and torrential rain cool everything down for a few glorious moments.
Anyway, The Kids are Alright: Annette Benning is marvelous in Lisa’s movie. A totally convincing alcoholic dyke. The other performances were wonderful too but Benning’s was by far my favorite..and there again was Mia Wasikowska! Our Whitstable lunch condiment. I assume she is well on her way to getting an Oscar, possibly next year?
Julianne Moore lacked control in A Single Man, her talent all over the place like a prolapsed labia. Compare that asinine performance with the very genuine, tight..measured performance in the Kids Are Alright. I would have preferred Olivia Williams of course but who the hell wouldn’t?
My ONLY gripe with the movie was the wholly unresolved issue of Ruffalo’s character who just vanished in a puff of metrosexual angst, ferociously seen off by Benning’s well observed impression of an alpha male. Unfairly berating Ruffalo on her doorstep, telling him that he was an ‘interloper’.
He was the sperm donor. After all they had been through, he should have been included in the family at the end of the movie. The kids wanted a relationship with him. It seemed unfair and churlish to jettison his character..although probably quite realistic. After all, it was they that contacted him. Moore who seduced him, Benning who suggested the ill-fated dinner at his house etc. etc.
I wish, when I had found my real dad he had been like Mark Ruffalo rather than the lying villain on offer.
Somebody suggested that if it had been a straight couple who had cheated with a surrogate mother..would the mother be part of the family? Well, if the kids wanted her..I suppose so. It posed many interesting and complex questions about what family means. What it could mean.
I loved everything about this exquisitely crafted movie but one thing above everything else totally blew me away: all of the characters took turns being the persecutor/rescuer/victim. Genius. There was so much at stake for all of them.
Saturday after the movie met Ian at Soho House NYC, which was jammed with gays. One particularly drunk, gay in swim short was making a total fool of himself. He should have been chucked out but everyone was a bit scared of the repercussions I think. Ate pork chops. Took cab to The Phoenix, a gay bar in East Village. Drank sickly diet coke. Met 20-year-old Persian boy. Nice for the ego.
This morning I saw Mike Z, a friend from LA, at the park whilst walking our dogs. Now I am waiting on him to come pick me up for lunch. He may forget. I am really hungry. Ravenous.
Ended up eating polish sausage on my own. Never trust a drinker to do what they agree to do.
Busy week ahead. No idea what’s in store. All I know is that once I get home I am going directly to the new road to see it being built. I can’t wait.
Plane home to LA. Lovely few days in NYC. Returning Delta. Man had panic attack and had to be removed just as we were taking off.
Really lifted my spirits. (The trip not the panicking man.)
Upon my arrival in NYC and the ghastly Comfort Inn I had a few moments of bitter disillusionment (the cause of which was mainly in my head..actually the cause of which was totally in my head) I had the best time with Jake, Dan, Lady Rizzo, John and Jamie. The little dog hated the rain but didn’t like being left at home.
Drank far too much coffee in the East Village.
At the behest of a new friend Bernard, who works for the Judd foundation, John, Jamie, Jake and I privately toured the Donald Judd private residence at 101 Spring St, Soho and reminded myself that on that very corner one cold winters afternoon in 1983 Fred Hughes and I saw John Gotti smoking a fat cigar.
We brought expensive cookies and marveled at the Japanese themed bathrooms and kitchen. How come the HUGE Dan Flavin in the bedroom felt like it was spewing microwaves? That thing, however beautiful, must have fried Judd, his wife and children.
I was recognized by one of the staff who LOVED the sex rehab show. “How you doing now?” she asked with a sympathetic crumpled brow and puckered lip.
After The Judd residence tour Jake and I celebrated his birthday with a dinner at the restaurant of his choice and the waiters brought him his desert with a candle on top.
Last night Dan and I attended a charity auction at the Milk Gallery to raise funds for the Stephen Petronio Dance Company. I was in a spectacularly good mood and was seen to be so. I met Cindy Sherman who had donated a huge, dark work, which raised over $20k for the troupe.
I bought 3 works including a very beautiful Dustin Yellin.
Dan and I had a late dinner at Westville where we saw Sam Rockwell.
Back in LA soon where I have a traffic court date, a returning lover and Mary the organic gardener has her new driving license which means she can continue tending the garden. I have a great deal to look forward to and a huge amount to be grateful for.
Donny, my friend, killed himself last night. He had struggled with sobriety, struggled to stay clean, struggled to stay out of trouble. Handsome, sweet, kind-hearted Donny just couldn’t stay alive. During the past 13 years I have lost many, many friends to the disease of addiction. It is always tough to reconcile but their loss keeps the rest of us alive. The truth is I always knew that one day this call would come and so remained aloof. I learned early on not to totally give myself to those wedded to the idea of death. The other men we know, who knew him, his friends my friends a community of sober men-are devastated. I can be there for them. I am there for you because you choose to live, to wake up every morning and face life on life’s terms.
I learned this shocking news at dinner last night. Dinner with Benoit Denizet-Lewis, Lady Rizo, Rob Roth, Cooper and Benoit’s boyfriend Nick at Soho House. We ate a $44 chicken. Earlier in the day I had lunch with Pierre the general manager of Soho House New York and very old friend. Recently in love he looks very happy and ten years younger. We ate delicious cauliflower soup.
The recession touches all of our lives in some way or other and no more so in the home where I am staying. My friend has been made redundant and after years of getting up and going into an office now finds himself carving an ersatz routine out of a long, jobless day. It is particularly hard to watch as I feel utterly powerless and wish that I could do something to make it better. A remarkably placid, gentleman my friend owned up to feeling very rageful in some situations when asked some sorts of questions about his predicament.
Benoit’s book event at the Gay and Lesbian Center on 13th Street was very enjoyable. His new book American Voyeur is well worth reading. He is a great essayist. I particularly liked the experience of going into the Gay and Lesbian Center. A warm hive of gay activity. Benoit’s event, a dating workshop, some sort of dance workshop, a twelve step meeting, men and women hanging around reading on the stair. It had a feeling of community, which is so sadly lacking in my gay experience.
Roque came to visit and it was lovely to finally meet him.
I still have not gotten around to having my haircut. It looks very shaggy.
Ended Tuesday on the roof of the Standard Hotel overlooking the frozen river. We were eating fascinating deserts in the Boom Boom Room. It was a lyrical end to a tragic day.
Cooper and I shared a cab home.
Roque couldn’t meet me in the morning so went for a brisk walk down the Bowery in the cold wind. I walked to my barber on Rivington St but he and his wife have moved to LA. That, as we say in England, is a ‘result’.
Dogs do not, initially, like cold wind but get used to it after a bit and scamper along happily. The Little Dog has become very grumpy of late, he shouts at bicycles, motor bikes and skateboards and I am sad to say-the morbidly obese.
It would be easy for me to take issue with everything in the world just like the little dog but I really don’t have the energy. Again, this is exactly why I don’t have a TV-it just irritates me. This morning Dan had his TV bleating whilst I was trying to write and Michael Steele was boasting about how much money he had in the bank. Why would the chairman of the Republican party be boasting about that?
One of the greatest lessons I have learned during the past few years from my elderly friend ‘Coach’ (79 years old) is how to deal with negativity. He says, “Don’t take things personally, even when they’re meant personally.” It’s great advice. I am rarely rattled by personal insults or attacks and my belief in God keeps me safe from those who want me to know how much they disapprove of me or my lifestyle.
Hanging around the rooms of AA for many years has taught me so much. Mostly how to grow old with dignity, to understand the rigors of getting old. I used to fear infirmity but I am at peace with that too and whatever time may bring. Old age will hopefully come to us all. I know that many fear it-and they have every good reason. We do not treat the elderly with any great respect.
My mother never allowed my Grandmother to go into a home and visited her every day until she died age 96. Thank God for free health care as the poor woman spent the last 6 months of her life in hospital after a massive stroke.
Perhaps my mother would have made different decisions about my Grandmother’s life if she’d have had to think about how much keeping her own mother alive would cost.
If keeping my grandmother alive would have bankrupted my mother would she have pulled the plug?
Free health care, affordable education. Human rights. Not privileges.
The book deal that I came here to sign has been moved forward to Tuesday.
Lunch with Joan, Alexi and Dan at Café Cluny. Lots of fun. Bought a pair of shoes in the 70% off sale at Marc Jacobs. The sales guy in the store was so beautiful I told him that he was breaking the law. How can being that beautiful not be illegal?
Last night Dan and boyfriend Eric took me to an avant gard happening in the West Village that was, rather annoyingly, a pretentious load of old tosh. We stayed for the first half and left. Took a cab to Joe’s Pub where we met the gorgeous Lady Rizo.
Ate dinner with Lady Rizo and others at Bowery bar, my burger was very poorly executed, then headed over to DUMBO to see her perform at Galapagos. She really is a remarkable performer.
In bed by 2.30am. A perfectly lovely evening.