Archives for category: Alcoholics Anonymous

Malibu California

Prologue.

Should I dedicate this blog to affluent, gay, white male: ‘The King‘ Chris Cortazzo?

Chris Cortazzo, Coldwell Banker’s top-selling Malibu realtor.  Remember?  He accused me of extortion when I threatened to blog about him?  Chris and his legal team predicted a felony in my future… an automatic deportation.

Chris wanted to fine me, humiliate me, take away my home and most importantly he wanted to silence me… yet, after months of bargaining with expensive help from his Super Lawyer Bryan Freedman… Chris Cortazzo accomplished no fines, no deportation, no felony.

When all was said and done Chris achieved a wobbly misdemeanor and a recently expired, three-year gag order… as part of a convoluted plea deal.  The ubiquitous plea deal routinely offered to people like me in the USA who couldn’t afford a fair trial.

No.  Chris Cortazzo is undeserving of any dedication.  He is a very, very bad gay.

Instead, I dedicate this blog to every man woman and child presently held illegally in jails and prisons all over ‘the land of the free’.  There are presently 2,500,000 people in US jails.

Two and a half million people.

Private and public US jails and prisons are crammed with brown men, women and children who could not afford a fair trial and under hopeless duress accepted a plea deal.  Worse, there are corroborated stories of pre trial detainees tortured into signing false confessions or incriminated by the police and corrupt, racist prosecutors.

Thanks to organizations like the Innocence Project hundreds of men and women have had their convictions overturned and on occasions released from decades of solitary confinement for crimes they did not commit.

Cowed by PTSD many will not survive their freedom.  Suicide and terminal illness rates are high.  It is hard for them to live normal lives.  They return to unrecognisable neighbourhoods, children estranged, families and friends scattered. In some states they are barred from voting.  For the decades of torture they endured many sue and win handsome payouts but after huge ‘civil rights’ attorneys bills, taxes and years waiting for payment they receive only a little remuneration.

Fearful, white tax payers unquestioningly pay whatever it costs for more prisons, death row, jails, the police and the military.  They believe mass incarceration makes them safer.  They rarely enquire: Who profits from mass incarceration?  They are unaware that the same people profiting from corrupt and illegal wars in Iraq and Libya also own the jails and the prisons ignoring the untold suffering within.

Whilst the 1% get richer on the backs of the poor, hiding their ill-gotten gains elsewhere, avoiding taxation… disenfranchised people of color are radicalized by brutal treatment whilst incarcerated.  The poor know they are easy prey.  Inside the big house they are gouged further by deputies who own and operate vending machines.  A 50 cent pack of noodles sold to those who can least afford it… for $3.  Loved ones forced to pay 1000 times more than you and I to receive phone calls from the incarcerated.

In America… if you are poor, vulnerable or sick… expect to be enslaved by the state.

Black communities are bullied by a police force trained to raise revenue by issuing hundreds of bogus tickets.  In Ferguson MO 80% of the residents had been ticketed for minor infractions, raising millions of dollars for a failing local government.  Private prisons are kept profitably full by agreement between local politicians and prison owners.  Remember Judge Ciavarella, jailed for receiving payment from a prison owner for imprisoning innocent children?   Some of those innocent kids killed themselves.

Two million children are arrested every year in the US, 95% for non-violent crimes.  66% of children incarcerated never return to school.  The US incarcerates nearly 5 times more children than any other nation in the world.

Ferguson and Mark Ciaverella are just the tip of the iceberg.  As in any tin pot dictatorship, powerful Americans use jail to silence whistleblowers and truth tellers.

This is my story: the story of rich, entitled white folk taking down and silencing enemies using the public court system as their personal weapon.

The blog referred to during this post is the blog I allegedly ‘threatened’ to publish if Chris Cortazzo didn’t right his wrongs.  The original blog exists publicly in its entirety as court records, evidence submitted by the prosecution during my pre-trial.

Why now?  Why write this 4 years after the event?  I might have left my story in the past but this story became unexpectedly relevant.  I was recently contacted by lawyers who revealed I wasn’t the only Malibu property owner who had fallen foul of realtor Christopher Cortazzo.

1.

Powerful friends, they say, make powerful enemies.  Chris and his friends proved they could do anything they wanted to me and others. There were times when I suspected my very own lawyer had been bought by the other side.

This is a Hollywood story.   As with any epic Hollywood story it requires a suspension of disbelief.  This narrative snakes in and out of reality tv, multi-million dollar homes, secretive Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and into the many canyons of Malibu, Bel Air and Beverly Hills.  It stars ‘A’ listed talent and their representatives, a cast of corrupt policemen, prosecutors and the judiciary.  It is the story of shameful… affluent, white gay men and their friends.

It is fortune lost and found.

2.

Dear Chris,

Let’s get one thing clear before we go any further.  I don’t want anything from you. Nothing.  I don’t want your money, I don’t want your time, I don’t want your body.  I want nothing from you… never… ever.

This is the blog you didn’t want me to write, the blog you spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to kill.  This is the blog I sat in the Los Angeles Men’s County Jail contemplating.  This is it.  This is the blog you wanted me to regret.

Chris.  Are you ready?

Before I start,  I have two words to say to you:  Hiroshi Horiike.



Hiroshi Horiike on the steps of his Malibu Mansion.

This name probably means nothing to your starry friends and clients, your 1% billionaire neighbours or the older Malibu home owners you nurture until they are ready to sell their ocean side properties.  The celebrities with whom you carouse all over the world may not be aware of Hiroshi Horiike.  I doubt if you make mention of his name in the many mansions, yachts and fast cars you inhabit.

Let me educate my readers.

Millionaire Hiroshi Horiike spent two years searching California for a dream home, one grander than any he could find in his native China.

After visiting more than 80 properties in the Los Angeles area with an agent from Coldwell Banker, Horiike paid $12.25 million in cash for a four-bedroom, six-bath Tuscan-style mansion with a swimming pool, spa and guest house on 5.1 acres (2.1 hectares) overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

There was just one catch. After settling in, Horiike found the Malibu home had less living space than he’d been told — a third less. It had 9,434 square feet (876 square meters) instead of the 15,000 square feet shown in marketing brochures from the seller’s agent, who also worked with Coldwell Banker.

You were the realtor repping both Hiroshi and the seller.  You were the realtor.   Chris, you were the realtor referred to in this quote and subsequent court documents.  Sounds dodgy doesn’t it?  No wonder you wanted to shut my big mouth.

Horiike, who also goes by his native Chinese name Peng Hong Ling after adopting a Japanese name as an adult, claimed he was cheated and sued the agent and the brokerage. He won a state appeals court ruling that sellers’ agents have a fiduciary duty to protect buyers’ interests, not just those of their clients, when there’s only one brokerage involved in a deal.

Of course you and Coldwell Banker have been defending yourselves vigorously in the courts… there’s a great deal at stake for Californian real estate agents.

If left standing, the decision could compel disclosure of confidential client information or force brokerages to drop out of transactions where they represent both buyers and sellers, threatening commissions on tens of thousands of deals.

Have you fucked it up for your Californian realtor colleagues?  Have you derailed their gravy train?

Horiike and I have a great deal in common when it comes to you, Chris.

Horiike and I were both US property virgins. We foolishly thought we could trust our realtors. We were naive, we were excited, we were unaware… in the unlikely event we were duped by unscrupulous realtors when we purchased our homes… we only had two years for discrepancies to reveal themselves before a remarkably short statute of limitation kicks in.  I discovered my geological discrepancy after two years… some people must have rubbed their hands in glee.

Hiroshi, he’s the Mensch!  Hiroshi is the man who won’t let go of the bone, Chris.  And you… you are Horiiki’s bone.  He’s taking his case all the way to the Supreme Court because, like me, he had his dream shattered by realtors.

But let’s concentrate on us for a moment Chris.  Just us.  Before this blew up you already had a very low opinion of me.  An opinion you share with many white, affluent, gay men. Chris you described me, after our couple of dates, in court documents as ‘dark and creepy’.

Let’s cast our minds back to happier times.  Chris, let’s remember when I arrived with society photographer Todd Eborle at the annual Barry Diller pre-Oscar garden party a few years back (I sat between you and Helen Mirren) we had a nice enough time.  We ate from the buffet.  We marveled at Rupert Murdoch and David Geffen chatting animatedly at the edge of the garden.

As I mentioned earlier, we’d had a date or two in West Hollywood but it didn’t work out. You claim we didn’t have oral sex.  If you can’t remember sucking my cock, I’m perfectly happy to forget it too.  The next time I saw you?  At the house on Hume Road, Malibu. I loved that house like Horiiki loved his, and a little like Horiiki I’d seen a ton of houses before I found my dream house on Hume Road.

Corey Nelson my dumb, good-looking realtor was sick of showing me property. He had shown me hundreds of homes.  Sometimes… I wouldn’t go inside.   Rude!

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Corey Nelson

The purchase of Hume Road happened before the crash when realtors didn’t have to work very hard to sell a house.  We had given up looking.  Corey Nelson and I hadn’t spoken for months.  So, when I found my little slice of paradise I called Corey because I knew he would appreciate making a sale.  I could have called anyone but I felt loyal to Corey.  I had no clue his inexperience and ambition would severely compromise me.

I was renting an apartment in Hollywood that had once belonged to Joni Mitchell.   Every day I would drive from El Cerritos Place to the Malibu property and sit in the garden, sit on the terrace and gaze at the view.  I was desperate to buy the house on Hume Road.  Indeed, my enthusiasm predicated just how much of a liberty you two groovy hucksters might take with me.

I met the owner of the Hume Road House, Kelly Mormon.  He asked if I wanted to move in before I bought the house.  I moved in.  I explored the neighborhood.  I saw a family of bob cats and eagles wheeling through the canyon.  Humming birds fed from the passion fruit flowers that grew on my terrace.  Walking Las Flores Canyon one warm evening I met a grumpy man from Cal Trans who told me buying a house on Hume Road was a really bad idea. He told me the city should buy the houses in the canyon and demolish them.  I’d heard rumors the land was unstable.  The neighbours denied it of course.  They assured me everything was just fine.

I wrote to Corey explaining my fears. When we subpoenaed his emails it was revealed soon after I wrote that email… Corey Nelson wrote you Chris asking what he should do about my cold feet. Your reply was chilling. “Call me,” you said.  I can’t imagine the plan you hatched during the call.

Corey abandoned his fiduciary duty when he made that call to you, Chris.

PRE-HISTORY

Let’s talk?  You and me?  Can I confide in you?

Do you remember the film?  I’d made a film people loved and I’d been nominated for a British Academy Award.  They warn the foolhardy: never move to LA unless invited.  Industry people (my agent and manager) told me my interests would be best served if I moved to Hollywood.  In 2007, after 35 years, I sold my beautiful sea-side house in Whitstable Kent.  I started house hunting in Los Angeles.

I met Corey Nelson from Sotheby’s a well-known realty company.  He was one of those cute ex Bruce Weber models who would do almost anything to make a sale.  I met him with an older gay realtor who claimed he was fucking him.  We met at Joan’s on Third in West Hollywood.  I love Joan.  She’s a romantic!  Have you heard her story?

Corey and I spent a long time house hunting.  I looked at hundreds of houses, none I liked. Corey was cute and fun.  We spent time together socially, we climbed Runyon Canyon.  I trusted him.  I believed realtors in the USA behaved like estate agents in the UK: with honesty and accountability.

Months into our search I had still not found a house.

3.

My recently deceased friend Jean Perramon lived in The Santa Monica Mountains.  His house had views stretching from Santa Monica to Point Dume.   Walking his neighborhood one evening I peeked past a large For Sale sign through the gates of an abandoned estate. To Jean’s consternation I opened the gates and wandered down the steep drive into two acres of lush, semi tropical gardens.  Huge cactus trees, ancient palms.  Bananas, citrus, plums.  Stone paths weaving through the landscape.  At the end of the path an empty, unlocked 1970’s post and beam family home divided into two apartments.

I told Corey about the house and he introduced me to Chris Cortazzo, Kelly’s agent.

Well, we scarcely needed introducing.

Listen, let’s face it…Chris has done very well for himself.  He comes from a humble Malibu family, his mother is often seen eating lunch in the garden at Cross Creek.  His fireman father is dead.  He sells more real estate than any other broker in the USA.  For a man who is scarcely literate… he has done very well for himself.   Perhaps it is gay mythology but your story includes a romantic liaison with billionaire Barry Diller who, it is alleged, set you up as a realtor and let you sell his property.  Is that true?

He writes this about himself on his own website:

Yes, Chris Cortazzo’s name is everywhere in Malibu, because that’s what happens when you’re “The King.”  It was actually the Bravo TV program Million Dollar Listing, in which CC was profiled among several other L.A.-area top-producing agents, that coined the term “The King of Malibu”. Perhaps it was his incredible production that earned him the title. Perhaps it owes to the type of clientele he often serves, namely some of the biggest names in entertainment and business.

After renting the Malibu house on Hume Road for a couple of weeks I asked Corey to write an offer.  The house had been on the market for a year or more hand had a price reduction. I live in a country where houses languish on the market for years, it did not occur to me that if a house had been on the market for a few months it may be problematic.  Nor did it occur to me that I may be working with a couple of realtors who were determined, at any cost, to sell me a doozy.

My soppy, inexperienced realtor wanted his commission and was sick of showing me endless properties.  We had written offers before but they had not been accepted.  I had never ordered an inspection.

The problem with the beautiful house?  During the past ten years there had been landslides on either side of the property.  There was illegal construction in the garden including un-permitted retaining walls and water tanks degrading the land, making it more liable to slide.

They knew if I had this critical information I would not buy the house and more importantly… it would be worth far less than the 1.4 million dollars I paid for it.

Neither the seller nor Chris disclosed this information.  Information, by law, they were required to reveal.  Corey told me a thorough geological report would cost me $10,000.  So, using the excuse I would save money I needn’t spend, they presented me with an expensive and thorough looking geological report conducted in 2004.   Corey persuaded me this report was adequate for my purposes, advising me I should have a verbal report from another geologist to confirm nothing seismic had happened after the 2004 report.

The difference between 2004 and the year I bought the house?  The house no longer sat on an HISTORIC slide as the report stated.  A historic slide means that during the past decade no noticeable seismic activity had taken place within a thousand feet of the property and the land was stable.   In 2004 the house sat comfortably on the ridge line,  foundations built on bedrock.

However, shortly after that 2004 report was written large parts of Las Flores Canyon including Hume Road began sliding into the sea.  My house now sat on an ACTIVE slide.  This important information was deliberately kept from me.  Moreover, Corey told me that he could not find a local geologist who would come to the house so we hired a geologist recommended by… Chris Cortazzo.  I was assured by Corey that the ‘verbal’ geological report from a geologist was perfectly normal.  Again, abandoning his fiduciary duties.

The young, good-looking geologist sat uncomfortably with us in the garden, Corey at his side.  He held the 2004 geological report.  I asked if there was anything I needed to know that may influence my purchase of the property.  I asked many, many questions.  I needed to know everything before I invested my hard-earned $1, 500,000.  Without looking into my eyes the ‘geologist’ told me the house had a “reasonable half an inch of ‘creep'”  but failed to mention either of the recent slides or the illegality of the un-permitted terracing.

I bought the house.  After we signed contracts at the close of escrow, Chris shook my hand and said, with half a grin, “You’re going to own that house for a very long time.”

Only when I tried selling the house… did I learn what he meant.

The next time I saw Chris Cortazzo he was sitting in a sex addict meeting where he claims he was ‘helping a friend’.  After seeing him at the meeting I wrote a sweet email welcoming him to SAA.  It’s hard to admit a problem like sex addiction.  I wanted him to feel safe when he returned.  That’s what we are taught to do in AA SAA etc… we look out for each other.  We reach out.  Almost immediately the troubled transphobic sex therapist Sean McFarlane who lead the meeting told me not to contact Chris again… under any circumstances.

Why?

Sean McFarlane chaired the Brentwood Sex Addict meeting (ironically held in a middle school until the school realized a famous pedophile attended the meeting) for over a decade, a serious break from the 12 traditions and frowned upon within the Anonymous community.  McFarlane didn’t seem to care much for the AA rules unless others broke them.  His personal recovery, doubted by many, seemed ‘unsponsored’.  He tells a melodramatic, highly questionable personal story and is well-known (to those within the addict community) to prey upon vulnerable celebrities eager to keep their failing marriages.

Consequently, he has a gang of loyal Hollywood/sports celebrities with whom he consorts in and out of therapy.  He would boast how he taught Mike Tyson’s daughter to swim.  The daughter who tragically… drowned.  Our ‘trusted servant’ McFarlane rarely accounted for the huge 7th Tradition purse he collected every week and handed over to his ‘treasurer’, John Artz.

It is rumored Sean McFarlane would take sex addicts through the 12 Steps… if they paid him.  Again, discouraged within the anonymous cult who pride themselves on sharing their sobriety with newcomers… for ‘fun and for free’.

Sean ‘no shame in my game’ McFarlane is a transphobe.  I never once heard anyone in that Sex Addict meeting challenge his transphobia.  He considered all trans people ‘evil’.  Whenever he had the opportunity he told graphic tales of his own heroism in the face of evil transsexuals.  How he saved one or other of his many trans chaser clients from the grips of an evil ‘tranny hooker’.

The group would cheer Sean’s transphobia.  Lawyers, agents, actors… casting directors.    Collectively witch hunting the trans people Sean considered evil.  Lately, as the Hollywood conversation turns toward inclusivity, color blind casting, gender neutrality… one wonders how Sean and his creepy white guy transphobic friends in the entertainment industry will survive?

THE REVEAL

The last time I heard from the ‘geologist’, he had turned to Jesus.  I was in my bed… at home in Malibu.  It was dark.  He called from a blocked phone.  He was distressed.  He apologized for calling late at night.  He stumbled over his words.  He told me Corey instructed him not to mention anything that would influence me away from buying the house.  The ‘geologist’ felt guilty.  He omitted to tell me the status of the slide had changed from historic.. to active.

He told me the lie plagued his conscience.

People ask: What did you do when he told you?  What could I do?  I tell them. “I listened.”

When we subpoenaed the geologist during my pre-trial… a completely different man (50 years old and morbidly obese) arrived at the court-house.  He didn’t want to be there, he was sweating bullets.  It was all the proof I needed but the pre-trial judge refused to listen to our evidence.  It was one of your triumphs, Chris.  The truth couldn’t help us.  The statute of limitations had long run out.

When I spoke to Corey he said,  “I knew this would come back to haunt me.”  You’re right Corey, if you have any conscience, it’s going to haunt you… the rest of your life.

After the geologist’s late night call I emailed Chris letting him know I’d give him time to ‘do the right thing’ and find a solution including a ‘fair and equitable’ settlement… or I would start a campaign against him… including paid advertisements in local newspapers, national news articles and a revelatory blog.

Soon after writing this email I was arrested and held without recourse to bail in LA Men’s County Jail.

2.

TP… the bug-eyed, ex head of a major film studio and his son were Malibu neighbours and regular faces at my sex addict meeting in Brentwood.  TP’s son described sex therapist Sean McFarlane’s reaction when he heard I’d been arrested,

“Sean leapt out of his seat and punched the air screaming… ‘he’s going down’.”

Bryan Freedman, John Adler (my SAA sponsor), TP and others smiled broadly at the news.  The men in that sex addict meeting coalesced around you Chris, you became one of their walking wounded.

Bryan Freedman, another self identified sex addict/alcoholic I  saw almost every morning at either the 7am Palisades AA stag meeting or the Sex Addict meeting in Brentwood.

Chris, how did you meet Bryan Freedman?  Did you meet him at the sex addict meeting?  Did transphobic sex therapist Sean MacFarlane introduce you?  Bryan is a great fan of transphobic sex therapist Sean McFarlane.

Bryan Freedman’s firm Freedman + Taitelman would represent your interests against me.

Bryan J. Freedman was selected as one of the most influential entertainment litigators in the country by The Hollywood Reporter in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 and in all eight years has been named in the Top 100 Power Lawyers list. Additionally, Bryan was recognized as a Southern California “Super Lawyer” in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, a peer-based award reserved only for the top 5% of all lawyers in Southern California. Also, Bryan has the unique distinction of being 1 of only 22 selected Honorees to Variety’s 2015 Legal Impact Report.

I know a very different Bryan Freedman.  This is the man who wept in AA meetings because he couldn’t bully his son into being the first jewish NBA basket ball player.  This is the married man who confided in a public SAA meeting he couldn’t stop intriguing with women… looking at small ads whilst his wife slept beside him.  This is the man who would high-five the equally despicable UTA Talent Agency boss Jeremy Zimmer at the AA meeting ‘above the bank’ in the Palisades where we sat together for more than a decade.

How involved was Bryan Freedman?  How much money did you pay him to have me vanish into the jail system?  I’m guessing he was involved with the plan?  He’s a Super Lawyer. His plan might include a cast of corruptible characters.  How much did they have to do with my illegal incarceration in the Los Angeles Men’s County Jail?

You and your advisors believed I might bend to your will if you held me in jail long enough.

Remember, we have to suspend our disbelief:

Just about every branch of Ferguson government (police, municipal court, city hall) participated in “unlawful” targeting of African-American residents for tickets and fines, the Justice Department concluded this week.

At first, the plan unfolded splendidly!  We understand  how utterly corrupt American prosecutors are.  Existing in a semi secretive world of grand juries and trumped-up charges designed to protect the rights of the 1%.  County prosecutor Anne-Marie Wise is no different, she played out your rich boy charade very admirably.  Anne-Marie, persuaded there was a case to answer by your impressive lawyer, sent her ZZ Top cops to arrest me.  They kept their cop badges under their waist length beards.

I agreed to meet Chris on the Pacific Coast Highway outside the Country Kitchen in Malibu (opposite the home of Tom Pollock) where he had offered to make his amends for ripping me off.  Instead, as I ate my breakfast burritos the cops arrived.  As I sat handcuffed in the blazing sun a black Rolls Royce with blackened windows cruised past,  it lingered.  Was that you Chris?  I knew the Rolls had something to do with you, Chris… so did the cops.

Did you enjoy watching me handcuffed Chris?  Did you take photographs on your cell phone?

ZZ Top and I headed up Las Flores Canyon to Hume Road.  The crazy bearded cops ran around my property with guns.  Why?  Because this is the melodrama of over paid, over weight, underutilized… LA cops.  Once in the house they meaninglessly tossed furniture and emptied my draws.  They seized my lap top and took me to the Calabasas police station where they interviewed and charged me with a felony extortion.  Extortion (for those who remain confused) is either threatening to reveal a secret or a crime unless money is paid.  It usually accompanies threats of violence.

Even though I had a valid US visa I was informed I could not post bail because of an Immigration Hold.  If an alien in the USA is charged with a felony they can be held for up to 48 hours by ICE to determine if they are a threat to the nation.

Your plan was working.

A day later I was taken to The LA Men’s County Jail.  Processed.  Screamed at.  They gave me a chest X-ray.  They fed me a baloney sandwich.  They asked if I was either suicidal or gay.  I told them I’m gay because I’d heard from Robert Downey Jr this was the only way to survive the jail and anyway I’d been out of the closet for a long time and I wasn’t about to crawl back in.  Not on your account Chris Cortazzo.

48 hours passed.  I was not released.

Whoever flicked the switch… whoever threw away the key did so at this moment.

To achieve this plan they needed a dependable federal government insider: someone prepared to override ICE protocol and keep me detained for longer than the mandatory 48 hour Immigration Hold.  This part of the plan required someone important in Federal Government to break the rules.  At the final reckoning I was held longer in Men’s County Jail on an ICE hold than any other pre trial detainee… ever.

Keeping a pre-trial detainee in jail until they bend to the will of the prosecutor is a common ploy.   It happens all over the USA.  It is happening right now as you are reading this blog.  People agree to anything to get out of jail and they assumed I’d plead guilty to felony EXTORTION and an automatic deportation.

As you can imagine, the jail is a dangerous place.  I had to get a grip.  Surprisingly I was very well equipped to deal with the jail.  AA/SAA had taught me a few simple tricks:

1.  Wherever I am… I am in the right place.

2.  It’s all part of God’s plan.

3.  Acceptance.  Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.

So many of the lessons I learned sitting with Sean MacFarlane, Jeremy Zimmer, Bryan Freedman and you Chris in the rooms of SAA and AA… listening to the 12 Steps kicked in and saved my ass.

And so… I sat in the jail.  For 86 days I sat in the jail.  I’ve already written about that, Chris.  I’m sure you’ve read it.

Almost immediately, the plan began to gently fray.  The first part of the plan depended on my finding the situation in jail… terrifying and intolerable.

You thought I was like you and Bryan and Jeremy and so many entitled, affluent white dudes?  You were certain I’d agree to anything to get out… including your terms. You thought I’d crumble.  You thought I’d lay down and die.  But the only thing crumbling… was your plan.

Chris, as you subsequently learned, I’m a stubborn son of a bitch and I wasn’t agreeing to anything.  So, for a few weeks I went back and forth to court.  The first two judges were ghastly and totally on your side.  They refused to listen to evidence, they were rude and surly to my attorney.

Do you remember?  I sat in front of you at the pre-trial.  I was shackled.  You sneered at me Chris.  This is where I learned how much you hated me after our date.  This is where it became apparent to me the rich can do anything they want in an American court.  They can buy the court just like they buy everything else.  Protected by your tame prosecutor, Chris… you looked so very smug.

After keeping me illegally in the jail for 86 days without a whiff of surrender, without capitulating, without giving an inch…. the ACLU started sniffing around my case and someone got scared.  Someone was likely going to be held responsible if something happened to me.  If I died in the jail of cancer… or a gall stone blockage… or fell victim to the violent deputy culture in the jail, which might very well have happened.

I realized two months into my incarceration:  Wow, this situation is illegal and someone… someone is going to have to pay for this!   I’m going to get paid for this.  I relaxed, thinking to myself:  another tough day at the office.   I played cards, I ate pork rinds, I had visitors, I kept myself out of trouble and I waited.

I told my friends on the phone I suspected my incarceration was illegal… knowing I was being listened to.   Then, one evening with a little warning from the Mexican nuns working in the jail for the Esperanza Project, I was called from my dorm, sat in a holding cell for a few hours, handed my clothes and ushered out of a small, unassuming door at the back of the jail.

The puckered asshole of the jail. Shat out onto the balmy LA streets.

At the final reckoning I was paid for every day I was illegally held as a pre-trial detainee without recourse to bail.

Fuck Chris, the day they released me from the jail you were on the phone for hours to your lawyers and the prosecutor and the prosecutor to your lawyers.  My release terrified you and a simple order of protection wouldn’t mollify you.  As I was getting out of the jail and headed home to Malibu and my dog… you were hiring 24 hour body guards.  You were frightened I would come after you.  And why wouldn’t you be scared?  After all, you and your friends had kept me locked up illegally for three months.

I must admit, when I first read this flurry of activity in your restitution claim (you expected me to pay your lawyers fees) and the hiring of body guards as documented in your restitution claim I laughed out loud.  I have no other weapon than this blog. The only weapon I have is so American:  freedom of speech.

Once out of the jail my lawyers and I relaxed into a long wait for you and your lawyers to alter your expectations.  You hadn’t really worked out what would happen if I didn’t capitulate.  You hadn’t worked on finding a corrupt trial judge.  You thought I’d be long gone.

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BRIAN TURNAUER

Were you assured by ‘Super Attorney’ Bryan Freedman and his unfortunately large featured lackey Brian Turnauer they would find you a sympathetic trial judge?

The catastrophic and totally unexpected final blow to your plan came soon after my release: Ms Wise seemed poleaxed by the judge assigned to our case: enter the unassailable Judge Jessic.  The Judge who couldn’t be bought.  The judge most likely to have integrity.  You should have seen Anne-Marie’s face Chris,  when she realized our Judge wasn’t going to play the game.  My favorite line of Judge Jessic’s to Ms Wise?

“I must admit I’m finding it difficult wrapping my head around this charge.  What’s the difference between threatening to blog and threatening to write a Yelp review?”

The prosecutor hung her head and said quietly… ‘nothing’.  You should have been there Chris is was GREAT.  Just like the time… and I’m repeating myself but it’s worth repeating… when Judge Jessic wondered out loud why I was sitting in the dock and not you.   We all know the reason for that Chris?   Because justice in the USA is reserved for the few who can afford it.

How quickly a felony dissolves into a convoluted misdemeanor when you can’t buy the judge.  At the suggestion of the ACLU I refused to plead guilty to anything and opted for the Californian ‘No Contest’ plea.  The huge restitution claim was whittled to almost nothing.  No fines or costs to pay.  All you were likely to get out of your ‘plan’ was a gag order.  A three-year gag order.

I had to sit quietly on probation for 18 months.  A grimy realtor from AA, the appalling self-promoting/self-obsessed/self-publishing Robert Radcliffe (Sotheby’s Palisades), called the police and told them I had been rude about you Chris Cortazzo.  I read the police interview, Rob.  The lies you told!  The police jumped all over the claim spending hours of their time filing reports.  Jessic threw it out.  He knew what was happening.

Tell me Chris, even though it’s election year and this may be dangerous conjecture.. I’m guessing Hillary Clinton did your federal bidding… just a guess?  To hold me indefinitely in jail… breaking the rules.  Did your billionaire mentor Barry Diller do the leg work?  Did Barry call the Mayor or the state department?   I can’t imagine Hillary would take your call, Chris.

I returned to the Palisades AA stag meeting.  The discomfort on the faces of Jeremy Zimmer, Bryan Freedman, John Artz (Malibu based DUI attorney with plenty personal experience of DUI) and the Dutch creep who burglarized my house whilst I was in jail.  I wasn’t disappointed.  They were outraged!  Jeremy complained bitterly I had broken AA laws by blogging about him.  Fuck you Jeremy Zimmer.  Fuck you.  There are no AA laws. There are no leaders.

Chris, this is the blog I must have written a thousand times since I left the jail, I wrote it… then deleted it.  I wrote it… then deleted it.  I must have torn up a million words.  Sometimes, I would frame the blog as an apology, sometimes a roiling river of resentment.   I had months to write it, months to rewrite it.  Waiting for the gag to be removed.

And now?  How did you affect the rest of my life?  As I outlined in my damages claim, I have PTSD.  I deal with it.  The experience inspired a general disgust for affluent, white gay men and specifically a loathing for realtors, lawyers and Hollywood agents.

The extortion law was originally written to protect people who had committed crimes or had secrets from being violently blackmailed.  Of course it’s hard luck when, in life, one gets fucked over.  In America the potential for being fucked over is a daily hazard, most often than not those who manage to successfully do the fucking over are hailed as the winners.  Just look at the Wall Street ‘winners’ rewarded for fucking over the entire nation.

Unlike most people who get fucked over, who cannot fight back…I have this modest blog.  It has proved to be one of the most effective fog horns in the world.

EPILOGUE 

Try as he might, Chris Cortazzo couldn’t keep out of trouble.  Chris faces more legal challenges.  As well as the lawsuit with Hiroki the Chinese Billionaire another grubby lawsuit has emerged… from a desperate Persian family whose property Cortazzo represented.  They are claiming Chris cruelly ripped them off.  The truths Chris feared most have revealed themselves.  A theme emerges: those of us who have publicly aired our grievances with Chris Cortazzo share a common bond.  We are all foreigners in the USA.

As for the legion of Million Dollar Listing fans who couldn’t believe Chris was anything other than a saint?  I ignored the lies written about me all over the internet; I don’t have to prove myself to anyone.  There’s no shame in my game.  With the help of the ACLU I sued LA County and a substantial financial settlement arrived from the City of Los Angeles a year later.  I sold my beautiful Malibu house.  I moved to New York and set about reinventing my life.

Bryan Freedman.  (I’m slowly shaking my head.)  There was a time I held you in such high regard I asked you to become my AA sponsor   It’s hard to forgive you Bryan.  You, Sean MacFarlane, John Artz and Jeremy Zimmer are the worst kind of ‘sober’ people.   Daily celebrating the AA message of humility, espousing the 12 Steps, quoting The Big Book… declaring forgiveness and ownership of ones defects of character.   Your ‘sobriety’ is a sham.  You may as well be drinking/drugging /cheating on your wives.  You remain the same arrogant hypocrites, behaving contrary to the AA message, as you always were.  The very same men who arrived in our rooms broken and defeated (I remember your stories)  begging for help with their alcoholism and sex addiction.  You have learned nothing… whilst affording me the greatest gift: LA County Jail.

The Brentwood celebrity Sex Addict meeting moved locations.  An undercover journalist sat amongst the sex addict group from a sleazy British newspaper.  He called me, wanted me to help him out.  The SAA attendees scattered. Members of the meeting asked why there was little financial accounting within the group.  Every week the 100 or so the very rich men in that school room would drop five or ten dollars in the ‘7th Tradition’ basket.  No one could account for it.  Where had the money gone?  Sean was removed by democratic vote as the group leader.  His wife left him.  The meeting disintegrated.

The cult of snake oil salesman Sean MacFarlane is not new to the anonymous programs.  AA/NA is particularly prone to charismatic leaders guiding the incomprehensibly demoralized addict and alcoholic out of the shadows and into the light.  Rehabs, sober living accommodation, half way houses and addiction counsellors… facilities mostly run by addicts and alcoholics, the lunatics are indeed running the asylum.  No doubt there will be many other Sean MacFarlanes ‘helping’ other desperate addicts achieve sobriety… of course,  for huge sums of money and little consequence.

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The rain, interminable. Cats and dogs. Great lakes puddle over the marshy back land.   Ominous clouds scud over the Hudson Valley.  Tom the gardener ploughs trenches down hill, unplugging the dams. Thirty years of fallen oak leaves dredged from soggy trench and damned culvert.  Branches thrown over the fence into the once vacant lot by lazy neighbours, removed. A scribble of dead bramble, removed. Now, on the northern perimeter, a pile of rotting vegetation – we might have burned on November 5th if we lived somewhere sensible.

However.

“There’ll be no bonfires in the village.” She said. The woman at the Mayor’s office. So. No wood smoke drifting over sparkling, frosty fields, no Guy Fawkes. No baked potatoes wrapped in scalding tin foil found amongst the dying embers.

I call friends in Los Angeles, they ask smugly if I’m prepared for the winter. They have no idea. Windows, insulation, boiler… thick curtains thankfully saved from other draughty, Victorian mansions. The winter months do not scare me. Come winter, come freeze the air, let the first snow fall.

How many pairs of gloves will I lose this year?

I am happy in Tivoli, so are the dogs. They chase squirrels, rabbits and deer.

The Little Dog has been skunked twice. Good God! The second time I took him to the vet, where they washed him with some magical solution.   Better than being savaged by coyote or bitten by a rattlesnake… I suppose, cheaper to remedy. He’s such a brave, curious, foolhardy Little Dog.

Dude hasn’t been skunked once, he hangs back from anything mildly threatening. He learned to climb the steep stair in the new house, laboring one step at a time he finds us in bed then dances on two legs until I fetch him up.

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I drive my old Mercedes into Hudson once a week. It’s a lovely town to visit but I hated living there. I hated it.  Frighteningly, I can’t remember the name of the road where I lived. Let me remember. Bellview, Fairview… PROSPECT!  Prospect Avenue, Hudson, NY.

So many irrelevant details scrubbed from the hard drive.  I will never forget that house.  That vile, ‘English Tudor’ house on the optimistically named Prospect Avenue. Overlooking the hospital; and a busy, dirty road.  The worst place (by far) I ever lived. Badly designed, badly renovated, so badly insulated: incapable of keeping heat in the winter or cool in the summer.

The house was haunted, not by angry ghosts moving things around or waiting in the corner… but melancholy, lonely women, dragging themselves up and down the stairs.  Most evident, the ghost of an elderly school teacher who spent twenty years peering from the sitting room window, equally scaring and delighting passing school children like a Halloween ghoul.

The house attracts lonely women.

Tanja Grunert, the current owner,  is the last of a long line.

So, I dedicate this blog post to her. To lonely Tanja whose life is more treacherous than a Hudson pavement in mid January.

The night I met Tanja she was wearing a huge black and white fur coat.  Like a skunk.

IMG_9720A short, stocky woman, she wears baggy jeans and tailored jackets. Her cropped, gray/mauve hair… cut hard around her masculine, pudgy face.   A smear of red lipstick, the only evidence she might be a heterosexual woman.

The night we met (by accident over steaming bowls of Asian broth) I should have run away.

Sadly, I have never had the resolve to run from a catastrophe.  As the towers came down I ran toward them.  There is something immediately alluring about Tanja, something fascinating.  From the moment we met I was hooked.  Some people are.  I’ll not be the first and I won’t be the last.  She crafted a first class art world career from a scintillating  first impression.

That night Tanja focused her all on me, seducing and melting… gasping and fluttering, roaring her huge laugh.  After dinner she invited us to the house… that house.

Much later I understood the only time she threw back her head, roaring that infectious laugh, was used as part of a sinister, well rehearsed routine.  A carefully constructed formula.

We discovered we had many people in common, Jay Jopling, Samia Saouma and Benedict Taschen.

She told me how beautiful I was. Told me I was her ‘type’. I was clear about my sexuality, “I am a gay man.” I said, as she coquettishly batted her eyelashes, grabbed hold of my hand, inviting us back to her cold, empty house. “Oh I’m so sorry.” She bows deeply into every apology. She is a committed apologist. “English is my second language.”  During our cohabitation I must have heard her say a million times, “Excuse me if I don’t understand.”

It was a lie.  I knew from the beginning she understood everything very well. Yet, I chose to ignore her lies. I chose to ignore, that cold winter, her lies, her homophobia, her racism, her alcoholism and her delusion.

Tanja is an alcoholic.  She is the kind of binging alcoholic who convinces herself that because she doesn’t drink in the morning she doesn’t have a drinking problem…. but she drinks in the morning. She is the kind of alcoholic who convinces herself that because she doesn’t drink alone she isn’t an alcoholic… yet, she drinks alone. She is the kind of alcoholic who convinces herself that she isn’t an alcoholic because she doesn’t black out and wet the bed…

She drank wine by the bottle, chain-smoked cigarettes; listened to opera so loudly on her record player that good conversation became impossible. Drowning in Wagner, drowning not waving, into misery.

That night, my first visit to her house, she lit a fire in the huge, totally empty sitting room.  Her husband was gone. He had taken flight that summer. Taking with him the money (his fathers) and the possibility.  She told him: “You cannot come to the house in Hudson.” He said, “You can’t have money to furnish it.”

I said: “You have an empty house and I have furniture.”  She said “Yes!” immediately.

Listen for a moment. Stand back.  Re-read my offer and tell me what could possibly go wrong?

Obviously it was terrible mistake. Half measures avail us nothing. I had no right making a deal with this devil. She started texting and calling all day and all night.  She would introduce me to her friends as her boyfriend or her husband.  She’d tell everyone who would listen that she loved me.  I was living in the East Village. We had dinner in the city. Tanja tried making me pay for her expensive wine habit… I refused.

Instead, I moved in.

So began a slow, interminably slow, head on collision. Two cold, stubborn alcoholics buckling, catastrophically into one another.   I spent nearly a year at the house, firstly because I was entranced… then the doors began to slam behind me. The furniture arrived and she took what she wanted from my things. “Each thing more beautiful than the last.” She cooed.

My Gary Hume disappeared.

Because she is an unapologetic racist she made me hide my African art because black people do not interest her. They make her ‘think of slavery’. They ‘make me sad’.  “I would never sleep with a black man.”

She buys five tickets for the Bjork concert but can’t find anyone to come with us.  Finally she invites people who barely know her.  They say, “I don’t know her at all.” At the will call she’s told very clearly that her tickets are being exchanged for better tickets.  Tanja starts screaming. Screaming at everyone.  Kicking the theatre.  I stand back and watch her disgusting spectacle.  I take the tickets, tell her to shut the fuck up, lead her into the theatre.  We take our excellent seats at the front of the theatre.

Shocked by her behavior we walk in silence back to the car after the event, unable to discuss Bjork like normal people.  Like the normal people around us, happy and grateful to have seen Bjork.  Her tantrums, her temper, her screaming, her crying fits of righteous outrage and indignation became so regular I learned to ignore them.

The winter was long and hard and cold.  Minus 23 degrees.  Unheard of upstate New York.  I found myself held hostage by the masculine German woman in the unfriendly house.

She refused to fill the oil tanks. The house froze.  The pipes burst.  The tiles fall from the bathroom walls. I fill the oil tanks myself, ferrying 10 gallon cans from a filling station five miles away.

The chaos, her unmanagability became easier when the sun began to shine.

Spring came suddenly this year.  The original deal she reneged.  She wanted money.  Always desperate for cash.  Another good idea blown into a million pieces. I handed it over.

Her grasping, fat fingers.  Her solid, bruised, Teutonic arms quaffing wine, passing out, laying naked on her bed until she leaks yellow stinking piss all over herself.   Naked on her bed, not sleeping but unconscious. Laying like the dead waiting for the autopsy, naked on her back.   Acres of white flesh.   “We are always naked.” “We always talk to ourselves.” “We only eat from Fish and Game.”

She tells everyone that an important publisher has commissioned an auto-biography. She says that the money will come.

“We only write in the kitchen.”

“We hate mood lighting.”

She spends hours under the harsh light at the kitchen table tapping on her keyboard, claiming to write a book some grand publisher might (or might not) have commissioned. She says she’s researching but she’s on the internet trying to fill the consuming void her younger husband left when he scarpered last June.  Filling the gaping, suppurating wound with Internet dates on match.com, okcupid and other… less salubrious sites. She shows me a thousand pictures of penis she has been sent.

Her less sexually ambitious female friends think she is a pioneer. This old queen knows she is a lonely, sleazy woman on the cusp of suicide.   In and out of Belleview. Unable to accept the truth.   Popping pills. She is poor, illegal and single.

Gay men seldom share the cache of penis we’ve been sent on line. Maybe the largest or the smallest. Maybe the most beautiful. She indiscriminately shows me every one. She wants me to know she is still relevant, that her menopause hadn’t knocked her through a hoop. (Like Samia before her.) But her boast falls on deaf ears. I look at her poker faced, disguising the pity I have for her.

There’s a young art dealer in town with a cool gallery, I buy art, he delivers the art to the house. He knows who she is. Curious to see where Tanja lives, he is surprised that the house is so clean. He expects to see a mountain of empty bottles. He tells me that she owes everyone money, him included.

“There’s a joke art dealers tell each other. They laugh about how long they’ve been in the art business. They say, I’ve been selling art so long… I remember when Tanja Grunert was hot.”

I reserved the most sympathy for her children who instinctively knew how selfish, self-obsessed and self pitying she and her ex husband are.   Both so eager to flee from her, like the men she meets on-line. A French man meets with her and tells me “Within a few minutes of phone conversation she offers to lick my ass.” to be his toilet. When he meets with her he says he could not fuck her because fucking her would be like “Fucking grandma.”

After meeting him she text messages twenty times an hour. She sobs, howls… when it becomes apparent that he is not interested in her. She wrings her hands and bangs her head into the wall, she blames everyone for her distress.

She meets another man and calls at 1am to ask where they can find a woman for some three way. I terminate the call.

Her teenage daughter watches as every man her mother meets on the internet lets her down. Steals what little she has left.  She has learned to keep quiet. She is biding her time, waiting for the day she can turn her back on them all.

Tanja boasts that during her second pregnancy with the girl she was high on cocaine, drunk on alcohol every day for the first trimester.

Her insufferable, precocious, entitled, blue-eyed son lives with us for the summer. He leaves chaos and mountains of trash infested, after a few hot days, with maggots. He said, “You are the room mate, you must clean up after me.” I refuse.


I video the mess and send it to his mother. He is now at an expensive college in SF exploring his homosexuality, thankfully a long way from his gentle, yielding girlfriend who was often heard plaintively asking the teenager why he needed to hurt her to express his love.

The boy barely conceals his contempt for the girl. Like his mother, like his father, like his grandmother. Generational dysfunction.  Violence. Violent to others, violent to herself, Tanja told me her husband would beat her in the bedroom.  Not because he loved her… because he hated her.  The provenance of the son’s fledgling misogyny evident for all to see.

The son drinks until he passes out.  Naked on his bed.  His father drinks himself into a black out… she wets the bed. I could smell the piss before I saw it.

Her son wants to stay with me at the hotel.  I cling to the edge of the bed.  As far as I can from his yearning adolescence.  Tanja wants to know why he is so interested in me.

For all of her gay friends, she is an unapologetic homophobe. She makes sneering jokes about ‘Your side’ and ‘Your people’ she tells me that I am ‘No use’ to her.  They are not jokes, they are evidence of her deep-seated homophobic resentment. For all the extraordinary gay men she surrounds herself, delighting them with her drama… she hates gay men. We are good for loans and art purchases. We loyally turn up at the hospital every time she half-heartedly overdoses.

When I brought that beautiful boy Spencer home, she asked if he was my boyfriend, then slandered me in German.  My school boy German catches every word.

Gay men know this: we all know that those determined to kill themselves rarely fail. The rest, like Tanja, merely crave the attention: cosseted in hospital beds, prescribed medicine, given the benefit of the doubt.

The gays around her provide the Greek entertainment.  The chorus.  Picking up the pieces.

At dawn, when she finally let me sleep. Before she falls into her bed, Tanja became sexually abusive. When we are on our own, if I’m the only person in the house she focuses her sexual violence on me.  Keeping me awake until dawn, drinking and smoking. Trying to touch me.

When, at the end, I mention that she is sexually harassing me and I could sue her… she smiles a smile only a torturer could have smiled and I saw very clearly into her rotten, stinking soul. She looked like the devil. I saw the devil smile. I will never forget that smile, for it was quite unlike anything I had seen before.

In the morning, by way of apology, she reminds me again that her mother had abused her. That she had hidden from the Nazis by living in a box under a mill, like a fairy-tale troll. After the war her mother had children and beat them. This was the excuse she gave for abusing me.

The same excuse. Again and again.

Excuses: excuses not to pay her artists, why the house would freeze and the pipes would burst.  Excused for not having insurance when Sandy hit Manhattan and filled her Chelsea gallery with raw sewage. Excuses for not paying her taxes, for not bothering to renew her visa.  Excuses why she never made a better job of killing herself. Excuses and apologies. One after another. A crocodile of dead infants snaking their way to hell.

After my painful pancreas operation, drowsy on meds she made me drive to the bank, fetch her $3000 and then punches me when I burst into tears. She apologizes immediately; she tells me that she was abused by her mother.   It’s too late. The summer is coming to an end. I hate her with such vigor. I hate being near her, I hate her voice, her smell, her proximity.

We drive back to the gallery where an angry artist is waiting for cash. Arms crossed.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t understand.”  She pleads with the angry artist.

At the end of August I empty the house of my possessions and I am free. 8 months of hell finally comes to an end.  I move to Tivoli.

Even after I am gone she demands money.  I have learned not to respond or engage.  A good lesson in restraint of pen and tongue.

Bill Wilson VT

I am responsible. When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. always to be there. And for that: I am responsible.

Today is my sober birthday.  My 18th year.

The non-sober people who warmly congratulate me on my sober birthday are unaware that within the benign cult of Alcoholics Anonymous abstinence, is not good enough.  The first question many non alcoholics reasonably ask, “Why, after so many years, do you still go to meetings?”  The truth is, sobriety as defined by William Griffith Wilson has become an absolute way of life: a total immersion, a divine calling, a cross onto which we nail ourselves and each other,  a commitment to a God of our own invention that leads unquestioningly to a daily reprieve from the disease of alcoholism.

Last week, I traveled north to East Dorset, Vermont to the birth place and grave of Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.  I was shown a plank, casually nailed to the wall, behind which Bill Wilson was born.  The gentleman sitting beside me pointed at it, lowering his eyes, telling the story of Bill’s birth with the same reverential gravity christians afford the Nativity.  The following day I sat at my lap top and wondered out loud to fellow gay alcoholics (on a gay sober Facebook page) how things have changed since Bill W and Dr Bob Silkworth framed the beginnings of what would become a world-wide phenomenon.

Much has changed in the rooms of AA since I got sober 18 years ago.   AA has evolved.  When I walked into my first meeting the message was clear.  AA was a ‘bridge to normal living’,  it was the nearest a person like me would get to being ‘born again’.  It was suggested that I look for the similarities and not the difference when people qualified.  It was suggested that I find a sponsor.   A sponsor is a man or woman willing to take an AA new comer through the ubiquitous 12 steps.

Men sponsoring men and women sponsoring women to avoid romantic complications.

Sponsorship used to be a humble service, a helping hand, unraveling the mysteries of AA.  A familiar face to show a newby around the rooms… as well as to go through the 12 steps.  That first year I did whatever I was told to do.  I made tea, cleaned up cigarette butts, I diligently read the Big Book.  I was advised to find a sponsor who had what I wanted… all  I wanted was peace of mind.  I met Vince who took me swiftly through the steps.  I remained willing and teachable.  Vince was the perfect introduction to AA and to him I will always be grateful.  It is because of the solid foundation Vince helped me build in early sobriety that I remain sober today.

Since then, sponsorship has become a monstrous beast riven with ego, co-dependence and self-aggrandizement.  Sponsors congratulate themselves for the number of sponsees they have.  Sponsors throw extravagant anniversary parties, positing their bloated and wholly personal ideas about sobriety, none of which has anything to do with Bill and Bob’s original intentions.  Sponsors have become demi-gods, using and abusing their sponsees at will.

They say: Call me every day, don’t have sex for a year, we’ll do this my way… or the highway.

Originally the newcomer completed the first 8 steps in a day with someone who had already completed all 12 steps.  Step 8 to step 12 would be worked a few weeks later.  Today sponsors can take years to go through the steps, they might not have completed the 12 steps themselves.   Too many sponsors make step work as hard a task as becoming a brain surgeon.

These sponsors use the book of AA against the newcomer, a hopeful… enthusiastic day counter (a day counter is someone who publicly announces how many days sober they are until 90 days have elapsed) may become disillusioned with the huge amount of written work he or she is required to do.  These ghastly sponsors tell the newcomer that they have to be thorough, scrupulously honest, that half measures avail them nothing.

Step 1: the simple act of owning up and surrender is now a protracted treatise on powerlessness and unmanageability.  Step 2: accepting God into my life as a power greater than myself requiring me to bow to anything other than my own will… has become a religious conversion.  Step 3:  the elegant proposal that ones life has been so poorly managed that it is best handed over to a higher power or… God.  Step 4: (a moral inventory) designed originally to swiftly clear away the wreckage of ones past so one might better embrace God and sobriety has become a monster of self-examination, scrutiny and fear.   A monster so fearful most will not get beyond step 4 to step 5.

This is not all.  There are endless stories of Sponsors taking advantage of their sponsees sexually, taking their money, abusing their trust.  In gay AA, because men are sponsoring men, romantic and sexual entanglements are rife.

The problem is:  many gay men I meet in AA or NA are not alcoholics or addicts.  They are lonely, friendless and stuck in a miserable half-life that the gays offer in lieu of community.  They are drinking and taking drugs and hooking up.  The gay dream.  When they realize this is all there is… they turn to AA where they find friends, fellowship and community.  A frat house of sober gays who never had a drinking problem in the first place.

When real alcoholics, desperate drug addicts wander into this clean white environment the gays simply don’t know what to do.  They look askance at the homeless, the beggar and scarcely offer their manicured hands.

The gays have created a ghetto at the edge of AA where they get away with murder.  Literally.  Only last week I heard of another man who killed himself because he couldn’t connect or feel included by gay AA.  If this gay sober cabal were working to keep the majority sober (happy joyous and free) then I would have no argument with gay AA but the facts are: many, many gay men leave AA after 5 years.  This is evident from the ‘countdown’ where we celebrate anniversaries. After seven years there is a chasm, a ten-year gap… between those who stayed and those who left AA.

The enthusiasm (pink cloud) a new comer experiences during the first five years tails off into abject misery as they realize AA isn’t about making friends, fucking cute sober boys and going to sober circuit parties.  It is about being present for ever.  For ever and ever.

As with any small, incestuous group of men and women desperately holding onto cultish beliefs… anyone who challenges what and how they believe is destined to be ostracized. It happens in Gay AA, LA AA, Men’s Stag AA.   Christ,  I sat in a men’s stag AA meeting above a Palisades bank at 7am for nearly a decade.  I witnessed and experienced bullying, homophobia, misogyny, ageism, racism… every day.  Yet, somehow within the rooms of AA, this is perfectly acceptable.  I returned recently to that room above the bank after having written about the ogres who live there.  Those I had written in my blog looked disgusted… then conveniently reimagined AA in their own image.

A sniveling, grey haired, Dickensian lawyer called John told the group how ‘unsafe’ he felt that I was sitting in ‘his’ home group.  Choosing to ignore the AA ‘suggestions’ and ‘traditions’  he personally attacks me.  His greasy hair limp on his pink, mottled forehead, his uneven yellow teeth, his waxy hands trembling with fury.

Another pompous member of that same group, perhaps the vilest of them all, surrounded by the vapid newcomers he sponsors… momentarily forgets his ‘singleness of purpose’ and tangles himself in a crippling scribble of resentment and self pity.   To the amusement and horror of the other alcoholics in the room he lambasts a recent widower who had foolishly delivered a favorable pitch about forgiving and forgetting.  Warning (me obviously) that he holds onto resentments… then magnificently back tracks… realizing how pathetic he sounds to those recent converts to Alcoholics Anonymous he hopes to inspire.

Too many men have left that dank room above the bank and killed themselves.

Online, the gays reacted very badly to my mild critique, my gentle questioning.  They told me I wasn’t sober… that I was ‘dry’, (dry is a pejorative term in AA meaning sober without working the 12 steps of AA) they tell me to go have a drink.  They tell me to leave AA.  More evidence of the sickness that exists not only in gay AA but also within our larger gay community.

I am not leaving AA any time soon.  If I drink (as they suggest)  I will return to AA a hero.  If I don’t drink I will return to AA a hero.  There’s very little they, my detractors, can do.  When they tell me to drink they are really telling me to kill myself… and many will attest that is exactly what the weak-willed have done.  Excluded by the cult of gay AA they have taken their own lives.

Each Alcoholics Anonymous group ought to be a spiritual entity having but one primary purpose — that of carrying its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

Bill Wilson Grave VT

 

Benji NY

I’ve been fretting.  Fretting about Gaza, Israel, Ferguson, bad white cops, arming black people, traveling, Alcoholics Anonymous.  I’ve been fretting about one beautiful man.

The Alcoholics Anonymous shit is the usual shit.  The same characters, the same stories, the same mental illness.   I sit in those rooms wondering why I’m there, if I belong to a cult?  Yet,  I never think about drinking.  I mean, I’m not looking for an excuse to drink.   That’s the very last thing I want to do.

Palm Trees Los Angeles

You see, it was one of those weeks when I heard that someone in AA killed themselves.  Someone I heard speak, someone I had spoken to.  Someone I had lunch with, someone I had hope for.  Then he blew his brains out.  No obituary, no news report.  Just another recovering alcoholic who couldn’t take it any more.  I thought about how we collectively accept the plaudits for keeping each other sober yet when a man kills himself it was his problem.  His solution.  Never our responsibility.   He had a six-year-old son.  He dressed very well.  Now he’s dead.

Since getting sober 18 years ago I have known many, many men and not so many women to kill themselves in the rooms of AA/NA.   It is never easy.   Yet, I have become desensitized from these terrible deaths and I hate myself for it.  I’m sorry.  I really am.

This week, I ate a great deal at Gjelina in Venice and these men graciously served me.

Benoit being Read to by Armistead Maupin

Last week I drove to San Francisco to see my friend Benoit Denizet Lewis read excerpts from his book Travels With Casey. After the reading we had dinner with Armistead Maupin and his charming boyfriend.  I told Armistead that I hadn’t read his famous book Tales of the City until I got to The Men’s County Jail.  I found a dog eared copy there. It was a first edition.

That night we stayed in an odd 50’s hotel/ex-motel off of trendy Chestnut Street.  The following day we drove to Napa and had lunch with Gene.  After lunch we wandered the giant redwoods in Muir Woods.  On the way back to San Francisco we watched people flying kites on Stinson Beach.

On my way home to Los Angeles I met up with my Whitstable friend Ben Clayton in Berkeley, we ate brunch then  sauntered all over the UC Berkeley campus.  We talked a great deal about home.  We talked about our mothers.

 

Back in Malibu I picked a huge bunch of bananas from the banana trees at the end of the garden, I harvested (and continue to) an abundance of figs and lemons.   I sold the bananas to my friend Nicolle the pie lady at Gjelina who bruleed them.

 

Yesterday, I went to the Norco Rodeo with Stuart Sandford.  Norco is an hour from Los Angeles.  It was the whitest event I have ever been to.  White people everywhere eating nachos and swilling beer.   The men wore cowboy hats.  The women screamed when the obedient bulls tossed their riders into the sand.

 

We wondered if there were other gays there.  The nearest gay on-line was 3 miles away.  I took pictures of cowboys.  I ate tri-tip sandwiches.  I was looking for bucking bronco Cody Gaines who I met the day before on Malibu beach.   Cody lives in Texas.  Cody loves Jesus.

Cody Gaines

Mostly I have been amusing myself in the garden.  I have been sweeping paths and mending lights and restoring order.  The dogs have been lazing all over the house during the day, finding patches of sunlight to flop into.  At night they spend too much time protecting me from deer and raccoons.  Go to sleep!

 

Michael came to visit from NYC.  He was sweet and charming.  I met the guy with a beard… and here’s a better picture of Stuart.  Stuart Sandford is a very fine artist.  He lives and works at the Tom of Finland House in Echo Park.  My friend Martin arrived from Provincetown.  He’s staying for a few days.

 

All in all it hasn’t been a bad month.  It’s just these past few hours.  I needed to sit down and write a gratitude list… and this is it.  You see, I woke up today and I’m not a hounded black teen on the streets of any city USA.  I’m not a hounded Palestinian in the ever shrinking patch of land they call home.  I’m not a fatherless 6 year old… and lastly, I didn’t blow my brains out this week because I couldn’t take it any more… and for that I must be grateful.

Latex Bondage Wear waiting to be washed at The Tom of Finland House

Latex bondage wear ready to be washed from the dungeon at The Tom of Finland House, Echo Park.

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 B 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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Williamsburg Snow
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Christina Rossetti

It’s snow day here in NYC.  Me and the man are at his place in Williamsburg.  It’s been 5 months now.  Seems to be enduring.  We are watching a neo-liberal straight man mock elderly Russians in Sochi for their old-fashioned views about gay people.  He really didn’t have to go that far to find narrow-minded people with hate in their hearts for the gays.

He could have gone to New Jersey.

As for narrow minds… just because one’s a gay doesn’t mean that you have a naturally expanded view of the world… that you are more insightful, more agreeable, less prejudiced or liberal.  Yet, the pro gay press wouldn’t dare reveal the dark side of the gay for fear of annoying their new pay masters.

Ask dumb gay people what they think about immigration, women’s rights, racism and laugh at their fucked up right wing views. Yes, do it.

What a delightful diversion the gays have become.   Whilst we fight to be in the military the military fights illegal wars, whilst we demand benefits those same benefits are taken away in the name of austerity, whilst we line up to get married the divorce rate soars.

With that in mind I thought I might share my recent queer adventures with the gays.

Given that the gays in AA pretty much write their own rules… writing about them seems perfectly ok.  After all, we are meant to keep what we see and hear in AA a big fucking secret.  The gays rarely play by that fundamental rule.

They sit before meetings gossiping and cruelly discussing what they heard at their gay AA meetings.  “My sponsor HATES him.”  I heard some bitchy queen exclaim.  So I asked what kind of sponsor hates people in AA and tells his sponsee?  That didn’t go down very well.

Nope.

Gay AA is a cult within a cult.

The man just cooked me breakfast.   He really seems to love me.  Being loved is always a surprise. Whenever it happens.  The delightful routine, the domesticity, the kissing.  Taking the dogs for long walks in the snow.

IMG_7019

1.

Philip Seymour Hoffman died this week.  The rooms of AA were full of weeping newcomers grieving his death.  Finding spurious reasons to hitch their wagon to his hearse.  Sober people with many years of sobriety rolled their eyes as crocodile tears drenched the disingenuous faces of people claiming intimate friendship with the deceased film star.

At the Perry Street morning AA meeting the press stood in packs, enduring the frigid February winds waiting for people who might have known PSH.  Many were less than discreet and sang like canaries.

The press was awash with sentimental descriptions of Hoffman, endless references to his ‘genius’ ‘talent’ and the ‘tragic waste of life’.

There were long essays by addiction ‘experts’ describing how addicts like Hoffman had no choice, that he was predestined to die with a needle in his arm, that his death symbolized something more in American culture that just the death of a ‘lonely’ junky.

You know, junkies who are taking drugs on the lam tend to isolate.  It’s hard to load a syringe, find a vein and discreetly nod off in a room full of people.  Especially when you are a household name.  He wasn’t lonely, he was alone.  He needed to be on his own to conduct his junky life.

The police arrested the guys who allegedly sold Hoffman the heroin.  They arrested the wrong people.   They should have gone after the directors of the ‘for profit’ treatment center he attended last year.  The snake oil sales men who promise relief from active addiction by cosseting addicts in expensive rehabs, re packaging the 12 steps of AA with no chance of long-term sobriety.

Criminal sober people with no interest in helping the desperate addict, just screwing them for the big bucks year after year for short-term relief.

Anyway, he’s dead.  Just like thousands of other junkies all over the USA but he gets a fanfare… they get a pauper’s grave and the shame of the addict heaped upon them.

Addicts are selfish, self obsessed monsters.  He chose to call his dealer rather than reach out to a sober person.  He chose to load his syringe rather than pick his kids up from school.

Now he has a million apologists who think he had no choice at all.

2.

Yesterday I signed up for the NYU AA men’s retreat to be held at Bill W’s house in Massachusetts.

As I walked into the room where the event was being organized the young gay white men with no more than 7 years of sobriety looked imperiously at me.  They could scarcely concealed their contempt or their bitchy sneers as I sat down and asked pertinent questions about travel and accommodation.

Their faces began to droop however, as they grasped that there was very little they could do to exclude me from coming to their cozy gay event.   The idea they could be trapped at a country retreat with me… for three days filled them with total horror.

The Gay men from the controlling gay AA cabal… who don’t even attend the NYU AA meeting are organizing the event.   I’m perfectly sure they went into isolation overdrive.  What could they do to get rid of me?

They were texting each other furiously.

We will see what shenanigans they come up with.  This is going to be very interesting.

3.

Jon Fortin/Zac Bissonnette

Last Saturday I went to the birthday party of a model publicist at The Skylark on 39th St.  It was a dreary affair, too few people bumping around a cavernous space.  Andy Roddick and Brooklyn Decker, a gaggle of ‘event gays’ and some asian women I convinced my friend were rifling his gym bag.  Yes, he had his gym bag with him.

After a moment of party remorse I decided to talk to some dull looking gays at the bar.  I wasn’t disappointed.  They were terrible.  Anyhow, I was introduced to one mealy-mouthed homo called Jon.  Jon who?  Jon Fortin.  He told us that he had started and had consequently left the organization GoProud the Republican gay group that represents gay conservatives and their allies.

I thought  Jimmy LaSalvia started GoProud?  No?  Hadn’t he recently renounced his republican affiliation?

Hmmm,  Jon Fortin.  Name didn’t sound familiar, between cranberry and sodas I snuck away and there on my second screen was Jon Fortin.   Google turned up very little about Jon Fortin other than a brief mention in the Gay Blade as a booth helper at the RNC and in his Linkedin profile as a Political Consultant for GoProud, The Whitehouse and John McCain.

He took my number and we met for brunch the following day with my friend Vanessa.  The brunch was very enlightening.  Firstly, he told us that he had fucked Aaron Schock the republican to whom Itay Hod alluded in some crude Facebook posting but was subsequently roundly discredited.

Jon described how he had picked Aaron up from Dulles airport, taken him to his hotel and fucked him.  It was very convincing.  My friend and I were both entranced.

Secondly, after brunch… during the boring Super Bowl he took me to one side and with sad eyes and wet mouth revealed that he had left his wallet at home in another coat.   As you may know dear readers I really don’t mind paying for lunch but I really mind paying for alcohol.

He left, promising to make it up to me the following day.  Yet, when the following day came around he refused to meet me on the east side where I was at my 12.30 AA meeting (listening to PSH stories) preferring a spot near where I lived.

Annoyed that I was being asked to walk 15 blocks through ten inches of wet slush I balked.  I told him that it was up to him to come to me as he owed me lunch.  After a bit of text argy bargy which included him telling me that I should just forget about how much lunch cost, he decided to leave $72 in dimes at my club which they very kindly processed.

It was an amusing stunt and one that had taken some careful preparation.

He paid his share.  I didn’t care if it were in pennies or euros.  It was paid.  Republicans believe that we are all ultimately responsible for our actions and there are consequences for our mistakes.  It was only right that he paid.

That was that… I thought.  Until this morning when an unidentified source revealed that rather than ‘political consultant Jon Fortin’ I had in fact fallen foul of Brayden Forrester porn star and hooker.

I Googled Brayden Forrester and my screen was ablaze!

Of course he had ‘lost’ his wallet.  Of course he was pissed that I asked him to pay his share.  Poor love.  I felt rather sorry for him.  30-year-old ex porn star fails to secure free lunch at exclusive club.

I let him know what I knew about his porno past and he called me a train wreck, a psycho, mentally ill, insane.   The usual insults.  I’m used to them.  Yep.  Sounds accurate.

Jon.  What did you do?

I received calls from the gays.  Don’t blog about him… it will ruin his life.  Ruin his life?  How?

In my humble opinion the truth will set Jon Fortin free.  He should shamelessly embrace his Brayden past.  The gays love a good porn star and Brayden knows how to take a big cock/load.  CHECK IT OUT BITCHES.  He’s far more interesting to me as Brayden than he ever will be as Jon.  Most gays agree.  Lance Black only benefitted from those X Rated pics of him getting fucked… in the ass… without protection.

My unfortunate encounter with Jon/Brayden reminded me of the equally repugnant/misguided writer gay:  Zac Bissonnette, author of the perfectly revolting and poorly written book  How To Be Richer, Smarter, and Better Looking Than Your Parents.  Yes, he really wrote a book with that title.

This elitist prick became infuriated when I mentioned on Facebook that he didn’t write particularly well to my friend Benoit Denizet-Lewis.  This solicited from Zac the sort of invective only the gays have ever reserved for me.

Zac trolled the internet and after reading vile and libelous comments left by anonymous queens… repeated them back to me as facts.  Accusing me of being a pedophile, trying to shame me for filling for bankruptcy, suggesting that I deserved to be in jail, he reminded me that I am old and ugly.  You know, the usual gay shit.

Smelling a delicious and potentially lucrative law suit I urged Bissonnette to make the pedophile accusation public.  Of course… he refused.  “Without proof I would never say that publicly, do you think I’m an idiot?” He minced.

Yes, I think you’re an idiot… Zac.

Zac (like Jon) believes that unless you are living a life that almost exactly replicates his with his specific design for gay living you may as well be dead.   In an attempt at peacemaking Zac offered an olive branch but it’s kind of hard to forgive a man who accuses you groundlessly of fucking children.

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Kay Saatchi and Tim Willis

If a woman, an individual woman multiplied by billions, does not believe in her own discrete existence and therefore cannot credit the authenticity of her own suffering, she is erased, canceled out, and the meaning of her life, whatever it is, whatever it might have been, is lost. This loss cannot be calculated or comprehended.  It is vast and awful, and nothing will ever make up for it.

― Andrea DworkinRight Wing Women

I never met Nigella Lawson, not yet.

She is still relevant.  She is the battered wife.  The super woman who drowned her sorrows in cocaine as her former husband lay dying of cancer and her ex husband allegedly emotionally brutalized her.

I only meet women like Nigella when they become irrelevant.

In my distant social orbit, light years from the warming sun of acceptability, circle the flotsam and jetsam of international society.  Isolated by ignominy, the ex wives of current politicians, media titans and corporate mega moguls float in and out of the rooms of AA, expensive treatment centers in the Arizona desert, The San Fernando Valley and Malibu.

Aping the lives they once had with limitless funds, they buy a few stems of bruised tuba rose* from the same florist who once filled their many mansions with exotic blooms.  Sumptuous bouquets placed on valuable escritoire, on silvered night stands, on grand dining tables.

As she leaves, she stands briefly on the threshold, looking down at her guilty feet and apologizes for the frugal fist of sweet smelling blooms.  The florist looks on piteously knowing that her younger, more glamorous successor can spend whatever she pleases.

The lonely ex-wife arranges a slim vase in her well-appointed but humble apartment in Pimlico moments from where she and her spouse once lived on Eaton Square.

These cast off ex-wives, these frosty women, their faces wet with angry tears, looking to half-baked sober life coaches in first-rate treatment centers to recalibrate their lives. Drinking away their sorrows, dumped by men whose power they loved and whose money they spent.    Yoga, sobriety, macrobiotics, spending, using, crying… nothing seems to work because all these women want is the sweet taste of revenge.

This week, one very lucky ex-wife gets her dues. She waited patiently on the sidelines of her ex-husband’s life to witness the crushing downfall of her Nemesis.  Today, American born, Kay Saatchi is not only back in Charles’s life but has had the delicious pleasure of helping dispense the woman who caused Kay pain beyond description: Nigella Lawson.

Kay is delightful.  I’ve met her on numerous occasions in Los Angeles.  Of course she’s delightful!   A man like Charles Saatchi wouldn’t marry an idiot.  Kay is everything a powerful man would want, she is elegant, super smart, she has exquisite taste.  Kay, nowadays, is sober.  Yet, when Kay was drinking, she had an unpleasant habit of blacking out and talking gibberish about Charles.  She couldn’t and wouldn’t stop.  Even her best friend wouldn’t know how to stem the tirade.  Her life, it seemed, could only be nothing… without Charles.

She would disintegrate into a seething mess of Charles Saatchi resentment.

The only hook Kay had in her ex as she watched in increasing horror as Nigella used Charles as a spring-board into her own rock solid career as international domestic goddess… was her/their daughter Phoebe who Kay moaned constantly was ignored by her father.  When I asked Phoebe if her father ignored her over Christmas dinner a few years ago… she denied it, looked sadly at her drunk mother and told me that the only problem parent… was Kay.

Now, things are different.  Kay is sober (unlike Nigella) and Kay’s undying love and loyalty for her ex husband has been rewarded by his begging Kay to help oust Nigella.  Kay will never be Mrs Charles Saatchi ever again but she has made herself indispensable to him during his time of need, once again firmly cementing herself back into his life.

Kay Saatchi

It is hard to explain to ordinary people the intoxicating effect of unlimited cash, how women like Kay and Nigella and now Trinny Woodall would willingly get involved with brooding Charles Saatchi. A man who throttled his ex wife in public.  A man so ruthless he recruits his vulnerable ex-wife to destroy his current wife.

Do yourself a favor and read Andrea Dworkin’s Right Wing Women: the politics of domesticated females.  Money and power are everything to some women.  It defies logic and rationale. The patriarch, the provider, the batterer… do what ever you will to me and for me… I am yours forever.

The harsh glare of media scrutiny is lighting up every dark corner of Charles Saatchi’s famously private life during the trial of his former employees, The Grillo Sisters.  It must be a painful time for secretive Charles.  During the trial there was constant mention of the grown women (who were no more that indentured servants) as ‘family’ yet, as Deborah Orr points out in the only pro Grillo piece on offer this week…

“You cannot insist that someone is in your family, then cry fraud when they behave as if they are.”

The rich are different.  They like to live beyond scrutiny, they operate without care for consequence.  Partially, this week, on a micro and macro level justice was done.  For servants like the Grillo sisters and for ex wives who crave revenge… like Kay Saatchi.

* Princess Diana‘s favorite flower.

Tyler Sunday

Last Monday I qualified at an AA meeting in the East Village.  A twenty-minute qualification.

I skipped the drugs and drinking part of the story and talked exclusively about  how I got sober and how I stay sober.

Since returning to NYC I had thrown myself back into AA.  90 meetings in 90 days.  A new sponsor and a new sponsee.  I quickly realized that there was no place for me in the gay meetings and opted for the straight/mixed meetings in far-flung places.

I could blast gay AA if I could be bothered… but I can’t.  Needless to say, it’s just not for me.

Monday morning, during the qualification, I nearly burst into tears.  In fact, I nearly burst into tears three times.

Once describing seeing the word God in the written steps of Alcoholics Anonymous at my first meeting,  the second when describing how humbling it was spending time with the tranny hookers I met in jail and thirdly when I remembered the final moments of my using.

I have never ever cried when qualifying.  I knew by the end of my share that something was seriously wrong with me.

I had a fun weekend with a young Texan.  We visited the New Museum, had various lunches and dinners with friends but all the while I felt listless, irritable, prone to bad temper.

We had HIV tests, we explored Williamsburg.  We looked at art, we bought action figures.

Tyler left on Sunday.

Within hours of his leaving my pee had turned a dark umber.

I felt the return of the pain in my chest that I often commented, when ever I had it, on Facebook.

Helpful people told me it was acid reflux, they told me to go to the doctor.  They told me to touch my toes.

I told them:

Is this flu or depression or anxiety or kidney failure?  Guess what folks… the terrible chest and back cramps have returned with a fever…

The terrible chest and stomach pains that I learned to dread, that had plagued me for the past two years were getting progressively worse.

Now, added to everything else… the pale brown pee.  I knew things were… serious.  But I remained optimistic that by the morning the pee would return to normal.

On Tuesday morning, despite my optimism,  my pee had turned the colour of coca cola.

I called a doctor friend at Cornell who made an appointment to see me immediately.

In huge pain I made my way to his office on the upper east side.

He prodded and poked then had me take a sonogram which revealed the cause of the problem:  gall stones… lots of them.

One of them, he suggested, may have lodged in the bile duct and the bile was now backing up into my blood.

By Tuesday afternoon my eyes were bright yellow.

I told my doctor friend that my mother had her gallbladder removed and my father had died of pancreatic cancer.  He baulked.  He couldn’t be sure that this wasn’t cancer until they had probed a little more.

He took blood and sent me home, making an appointment to see his urologist friend this week.

When I got home I went directly to bed.  The pain worsened.  I was in difficulty.  I called my doctor.  He told me to go to the ER.

I called my landlady and she kindly drove me to the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

The doctor called ahead so I was quickly admitted and given a massive dose of morphine.

Hospital Portrait

In a painful daze, during the next day, I had the blockage removed.

The young gay man who removed the stone was incredibly chipper, explained what he was going to do and soon I was asleep.

They shoved something down my throat and into my tummy.  They cut into the bile duct and removed the obstruction.  They checked my pancreas.

It was ironic: the gall bladder and the pancreas irritating each other.  My mother and father at war in my tummy.

I woke up.

Thank GOD it wasn’t cancer.  It was a gall stone.  But my pancreas was angry.  The doctors urged me to have the gallbladder removed.

The following day I was wheeled into surgery and had my Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal.

I woke up with a dull thud in my belly and four small incisions.

The surgeon described my gallbladder as ‘severely traumatized’.

The bladder had been suffering for many, many years and within hours of surgery I knew that I was waking up without just the physical bladder but without a huge emotional burden.

I felt free. I feel free.

Little Dog

A day longer in the hospital recuperating and they sent me home.

Dear Cristina sent a car to fetch me and Stephen and Roy filled the fridge with wonderful things to eat.

My time in the hospital was made so much better by everyone who works there.

The doctors, surgeons, specialists, nurses and orderlies.

Every one of them treated me with respect, kindness and the level of care I received was without comparison.

Each doctor looked me in the eye, introduced themselves and shook my hand.  They described in detail what was going on and gave me options.

The surgeon bantered and made one feel at ease.

The nurses said goodbye to each patient when they left their shift.

Every person I met wished me a speedy recovery and good luck.

Even though the hospital remains over crowded (since hurricane Sandy) and we were housed in former waiting areas and reopened buildings the staff were sublimely professional.

The other patients, however, were terrible.  They complained about everything.  The staff remained, in the face of this rank ingratitude, resilient.

I saw drug addicts in the ER demand morphine.  I heard men rudely tell nurses that they ‘didn’t do’ wards.  I heard cantankerous men demand their diapers changed.  The nurses were treated like care slaves.  Like servants.

The lack of any kind of humility from most patients was stunning.

I apologized whenever I could for the behavior of my fellow patients.

I’m sure that fear and pain determine the behaviors of most people in hospital.

I’m sure that the entitled rich expect so much more because of the high insurance premiums they pay and the poor… well, they  never get to treat anybody as they are treated.

Still, it’s no excuse.  Bad manners prevail.

It was another peculiarly American experience, one I will never forget.

The dogs were happy to see me but I was less happy to see them.  I couldn’t deal with how much attention they demanded.

I lay in my bed watching the Oscars.  A long way away from that terrible, cruel world.

January NYC

1.

The definite seasons on the east coast. The passing days, changing. Slowly.

Each day has a brand new identity. New light. Color.

The bland, endless Los Angeles summer has finally come to an end. After 8 long years. I am heading home.

I wear my long, grey cashmere coat (Hermes) and fur hat (Dior).

I pull on my knee-length, woolen socks and my heavy boots.

I am going to therapy… daily. I am finally addressing the issues I have been ignoring this past year. You know, those pesky medical issues.

Strangely, without warning… even though we share the same streets. I never see him. Nor do I wish to conjure him, manifest him, make him appear… I had lunch with one of his co-workers the other day, a youngster (we met at an AA meeting) who wanted his job.

It was funny being at the same table as someone who works in close proximity to him. Their opinion.

They knew the story. An urban myth that they delighted in fact checking.

Oh well.

Of course there’s loads going on (Film/House/Social) but somehow I don’t have the energy to write it.

I take pictures and let that suffice.

2.

I found a picture of Joe. He’s obsessively going to the gym. A man mountain. In his late 60’s now.

I scarcely ever think about him. Isn’t that odd? To have no thoughts about someone who was once the center of your world.

Richard C

Christmas Cheer

December 2nd 2013.  Just one year away.

1.

I didn’t stay at home last night.

On the way back to Malibu I stopped in at one of those coffee-house chains.  I sat nursing a cup of hot black brew.

I sat quietly.  I am wearing my black pantaloons (Miu Miu), a Stetson, raspberry colored hand knitted socks with sky blue trim.

I sat listening to a bunch of affluent white men in their 50’s and 60’s dressed in motor cycling leathers, complaining about President Obama.

They were rudely spouting one ill-informed cliché after another, rudely condemning: green solutions, ‘cripple’ access around Santa Monica, the ‘fiscal cliff’ etc.

These same men defend Israel.  Even though this week Israel and the USA find themselves horribly isolated on the world stage.

The old white men are stuck in another age, another time… baffled by a changing world… still unable to comprehend how Mitt Romney lost the election they were convinced he’d win.

I wanted to ask them questions but I knew nothing they had to say would tell me anything I didn’t already know.

Their fears laid bare:  Black leaders, electric cars, marriage equality.

“They’ll all cry that they voted for him.” they convinced each other.

I felt like I was on the winning side.  Their Schadenfreude didn’t feel dangerous… it felt old-fashioned.

On the way home I listened to something on NPR about a group called LA Jews for Peace.

A group of Jewish Americans committed to peace in the Middle East through a negotiated settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, and opposition to American militarism, imperialism, and exceptionalism.

Their spokesman bemoaned America’s UN vote against Palestine.

America, like the old white men at the coffee shop, seems unable to comprehend or adapt to the changing world.

What the white men at the coffee shop don’t seem to acknowledge:  they have more in common with their President than they seem to realize.  I mean… Obama is only half black, raised by white folks… cup half full lads?  Surely?

Obama owns his whiteness in the Whitehouse and flays his blackness on the stump.

Barry Goodman (old white jew),  unfriended me on FB the day the UN recognized the Palestinians right to statehood.

Just nine nations voted against the Palestinian Authority’s upgrade to nonvoting observer state status, which passed the General Assembly 138-9, with 41 abstentions.

Voting “No” on Thursday were Israel, the United States and Canada, joined by the Czech Republic, Panama and several Pacific island nations: Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau. The Pacific nations typically support the U.S. and Israel at the U.N. on key General Assembly resolutions.

In the face of this terrific news self hating jews like Barry Goodman reacted like spoiled, entitled children.

In a unanimous resolution passed Sunday, Israel’s Cabinet said it would not negotiate on the basis of the General Assembly’s recognition of a state of Palestine in the occupied West Bank,  East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.

“The unilateral step taken by the Palestinians at the United Nations violates peace agreements,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu complained, justifying Israel’s rejection of the U.N. vote.

Astoundingly, he bleated:

“The only way to Palestinian statehood and peace is through direct negotiations with Israel.”

Then he told the rest of the non compliant world  he was going to hold onto money that was owed to the Palestinians and build all over their shit.

2.

I don’t trust any of the gay men I meet in LA.   Industry men.

Bryan.  WTF?

I had lunch with one of Bryan’s boy toys yesterday, the second in one week.  I met a technician Bryan works with, Bryan says, “I don’t want to direct movies, I want someone else to direct them and I critique their results.”

After I started defending the Palestinians during the Israeli bombardment Guy S (second rate Bryan sycophant)  tells me that they all hate me.  That’s like music to my ears.

I call Tom.  Tom denies what I already know to be the truth.

They know, they all know that sooner or later I’m going to write everything down.

Hollywood Babylon style.

It’s just a matter of time.

3.

December 2nd 2013.   Just you wait Henry Higgins, just you wait.

1.

I have been listening to Max Richter‘s re imagining of Vivaldi‘s Four Seasons.

Listen to it.

Doesn’t it inspire you?  Inspire you to write or paint or reach out?

I have been re-writing my script.  Tinkering.  It’s all about nuance now.

The balance of power shifting subtly between two lovers.

I saw new pictures of him.  He looks less grotesque.  Like he is finding his own style. Owning his beautiful smile.  Owning it.

It makes me happy to know that he is thriving.  That he is going to make a better job of this than I ever could.

That he will enjoy the benefits of being a young gay man in 2012.

I have been all over the place recently.  High and low.  Good and bad.  Always present.  Never shamed.

At LACMA I was more interested in the spectator than the art.

Some people are art.

I have been in the company of old men in those strange AA rooms.  In basements, church halls, galleries.  Yes, there is an AA meeting in a gallery in Venice.

I like old people because I am in training to be one.  Surround yourself with old people and you might learn to age with dignity.

I like getting old. Watching the lines on my face get deeper.  For those Peter Pan gays amongst you… you’ve got it coming. ha ha ha.

2.

I’m sitting in The Chateau with Elizabeth and a professional gambler.

He’s my age, boasting about the 20-year-old girls he can snare. But he’s not owning it.  He’s not proud.  He’s telling me like he tells his friends that he owns a Water Lily by Monet.

The painting just stares back at him blankly.

It has no value.  She stands at the end of his bed, naked… looking at him blankly.  Wondering what to do.

I re-imagine the grotesque freaks.

3.

I watched in awe as the audacious Israelis, once again, killed Palestinians.

They have not attacked either Lebanon or the people of Gaza since the mid east shape shifting Arab Spring.  Times have changed, time has strengthened the international hand of Hamas.  Making the incredible credible.

So, it came as no surprise when, after a week, a ceasefire was brokered by the newly elected Muslim Brotherhood President of Egypt.

It heralds the new order.

Within hours of Hilary Clinton‘s departure from Egypt the new president announced (temporary) extensive new personal powers.  There are popular demonstrations planned in Cairo today.

I railed against Israel on my Facebook page.  In Europe they ‘liked’ my stance, in America they didn’t.

Here their brains are fried by Israeli propaganda.  Pro Palestinian aristocrats in England wrote private notes of support.  Americans urged me to stop my public support of the people of Gaza.

Sneering at pictures of dead Palestinian children.

The temptation is to see the tragic bloodshed in the narrow terms of the Hamas rockets and Israel’s right to self defence.

Israel has that right of course… and it’s worth restating.

This is not just about rockets and self-defence. It’s about 1.3 million Palestinians crowded into a tiny strip of land (or “prison camp” as David Cameron called it), most of whose families were refugees from land now occupied by Israel and who feel that their hopes of a viable Palestinian homeland are further away than ever.

Yes, the Israelis withdrew from Gaza in 2005 but Israel’s continued blockade has strangled Gaza’s economy and only served to encourage the militants.

“When Israelis in the occupied territories now claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing… You can’t defend yourself when you’re militarily occupying someone else’s land. That’s not defense. Call it what you like, it’s not defense.”

~ Noam Chomsky

4.

AA.  It has been a welcome return.  Looking for a sponsor, working out a year of resentments.  Sitting in those rooms with those beautiful boys.  Refusing their interest, I cannot be trusted with it.

Based on a True Story.

This is based on a true story.  Everything you see has some basis in truth.  The sun is shining.  I am in bed.  Over looking the Pacific. Getting older, a performance artist.  A sober man.

Not dead yet.  I wondered who would love me and the love (when it comes) comes from the most unlikely source.

Last night we sat in the Chateau Marmont with a professional gambler.  We ate pumpkin pie.  We drank hot chocolate.  Vincent arrived with two beautiful Swedish boys.  I was in bed before 12.

The fridge groaning with left over Thanksgiving food whilst the starving homeless roam the streets like so many tatty zombies.

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Published today in The Fix and responded to in The Advocate….

On October 1st I will be 16 years sober.

That means that I have not had a drink or a drug for 16 years.

I got sober and I didn’t relapse.

Gay men find it impossible to stay sober. They relapse again and again. The reason is clear: sex. Sexual addiction. I am not suggesting that all gay men who claim that they are alcoholic are in fact sex addicts but most gay men who can’t stay sober cite sex as the primary reason for relapse.

The simple fact of the matter is that most of the time, readily available anonymous hook ups quickly take the place of alcohol and drugs. When a sober man walks into the apartment of a super hot man doing crystal meth, sobriety is quickly flushed down the toilet along with HIV status.

I hear the story over and over again. Yet, as a community, we think we can get away with this risky behavior. It is an arrogant vanity.

Gay AA is a sad affair. I go periodically—mostly when I flee the super charged straight stag meetings because I find the straight, young newcomers too triggering.

While many straight sober people create a new life with AA that involves abandoning bars and other locations that might lead to relapse, gay sober men often want a sober version of the life they had before, complete with dance parties, bars and gogo boys. Any reason to have a party will do—including the absurd “three-month anniversary.” Or, as one galling invitation I received said, “Help Joe S. celebrate his one-month anniversary.”

Forgive me if I’m wrong but anniversaries are a yearly celebration.

Many of these sober parties are indistinguishable from their non sober equivalent: scantily clad men line up for espresso machines manned by disco short-wearing super hot straight guys more used to shaking cocktails than dispensing coffee to gay guys jacked up on caffeine. Unable to attend drug-crazed gay circuit parties, many gay sober men in LA flock to the sober circuit parties, such as Hot ‘n Dry, which is held annually in Palm Springs. These events are more likely to take someone out than any other reason I’ve ever heard in gay AA. Yearly, after this event, bedraggled gay men turn up at meetings, their eyes blazing from excessive drug use, taking newcomer chips. Should I be surprised? After all, the Hot n’ Dry ticket salesman had assured me that it would be “a sex fest from the moment you arrive at the Ace Hotel.”

The absurd idea that we can behave like we have always behaved as long as we have a deluded and lackluster understanding of the 12 steps just doesn’t work. Two years ago, after I appeared on Sex Rehab With Dr. Drew, I suggested that within the gay community, we might have a sexual unmanageability problem and was flooded with vitriol. But that’s not going to stop me from sharing what I believe to be serious issues.

The other serious issue within gay AA, in my opinion, is the resistance to God or a Higher Power. Most of my gay sponsees are understandably wary of God. The Christian God—the religious God—hasn’t made them feel very welcome in the past and has actually steeped them in shame and misery. To find that at the heart of AA is a God—even if it’s one of their own understanding—is anathema to most gay men. From what I can determine, most gay men just ignore the God part of the 12 steps—a relevant fact when the God part, in my estimation, accounts for roughly 90% of recovery. Working through the God options with gay men can be excruciating. Why bother looking for spiritual validation when they can get immediate validation on Grindr?

I used to love AA in LA; my love for it was actually the reason I first moved to LA. Now I hate it. It’s like a cult—sober grandees ruling over desperate men, the film industry providing the sickest of backdrops: men flaying themselves before agents and film executives in the hope of catching crumbs from the sober table I see this everywhere from the straight stag meetings, where misogyny and homophobia are expressed freely, to the sickest meetings of all: Gay AA in LA.

For all of these reasons and more, last November, after nearly 16 years, I stopped going to AA meetings. I was exhausted, disillusioned and utterly miserable. My last meeting in LA, at the iconic Log Cabin on Robertson in West Hollywood, was a gay meeting attended by 300 gay men.

I couldn’t walk away fast enough.

And yet yesterday, after a nine-month hiatus, I walked into a co-ed meeting in Park Slope, Brooklyn. I was an hour early. I helped set out the chairs in ten neat rows and then I made the coffee. During the meeting, I shared my resentments and my fears and afterwards, a tiny woman called Dianne came up to me and let me have two full barrels of her tough love wisdom.

“It’s time for you to get fucking humble,” she said. “Come back and do fucking 90 in 90 like a newcomer.”

She was right. After months away from AA, I felt spiritually bankrupt. I stopped fighting and did what we are all meant to in the rooms of AA: I gave in.

Later that evening, the young man I helped set up the meeting took me for dinner. We talked recovery. This morning, we had sex. There I was, doing the walk of shame, doubled down. I had once again fucked a newcomer, counting days. It’s my story in AA. The younger men find my honesty irresistible and I can’t say no.

When I first got sober in London, the only gay men I met in AA were old queens at the Eton Square meeting. I met a couple of gay men in NA but within the deluded gay community, at that time, there was a mantra I heard over and over that “quitting was for losers.” Several years later, after celebrities like Boy George got sober, the rooms of AA and NA filled quickly with what we now recognize as gay recovery.

Back then I was accused, by my drinking friends, of being a contrarian—of rocking the boat and spoiling it for the others. As it happened, I was in the vanguard. I remember being hounded by drunken gay men who were outraged that I might, just by being sober, challenge their powerlessness and un-manageability. Of course those very same men now thank me for introducing them to the 12 steps.

After a few months away from AA, I am ready to start again but, as Dianne said, I’ve got to get humble, forget all those years of sobriety and do 90 meetings in 90 days. For the first time in a long time, I value my life. I should have left LA years ago but I’m a tenacious old queen; I didn’t want to let go. Just one more meeting might fix me. Just more line, one more Vodka Tonic and the crazy opera playing in my head might stop.

Walking back into AA in New York was a relief, a joy—just like it used to be. I want to be sober. The only problem getting in the way of that is me. But I know that if I’m going to be able to do it, I’ll have to learn how to say no to sex. As a single gay man, the consequences are dire if I don’t.

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At this time of life it is time to take a good hard look at what is and what could be.

The obvious frailties: reading glasses, aching joints, the prospect of a life without enduring love.

If I had only invested in a surrogate child. All my fears may be allayed.

That, for the uninitiated, was irony. You know how I feel about those surrogate gaybies. Abandoned to nannies until they can talk. Dressed up like performing monkeys.

“They spent every weekend on Fire Island this season and didn’t take the baby once.”

I am judged by what I own, by the company I keep, the baby I can afford, the art on my walls, the boy in my bed, the ideas in my head, the club I belong to, the house of my dreams, the car in the drive, the clothes on my back, the God of my understanding. I am judged.

Who am I? Take all of this away and leave me on the streets of Brooklyn and I am content. I want to be just like you. My history erased. My name changed. Once again.

The fire sweeps through the apartment building. The fire captains excited by the prospect of a real fire, manageable, heroic. Nobody is injured. The windows are smashed. The art deco facade blackened.

The jews are on the streets blowing their horns for the new year.

“Are you Jewish?” The young Hasidic Jew asks me.

” No. I’m not a Jew.”

I change my mind the next time I am asked. “Yes,” I lie, “I’m a Jew.”

He takes out the ram’s horn. I stand there in front of this eager youth with boyish whiskers and a large black hat, (the bastard child hat of the sombrero and the fedora) and for ten minutes he chants incantations and blows his horn.

We walk to Park Slope, enjoying the multi-million dollar mansions, the Art Deco Brooklyn Library, the renovated Museum with oddly placed Rodin in the foyer.

Delightful Prospect Park adjoining the Museum could have been designed by Capability Brown but was (of course) designed by Frederick Law Olmsted the designer of Central Park.

We ate at the new burger joint in Park Slope. My burger was made of Elk.

As I was ordering my elk burger I opened an urgent email. My friend’s brother had been shot dead on his farm in Maryland. He was found, partially eaten by animals, on his tractor. They have no idea if it is suicide or murder.

I filed the tragic news as ‘pending’.  I called his Mother and offered condolences and help.

These streets. They yield all manner of fine opportunity. I can disappear on these streets.

Today it is dark, wet and grey. The wind is warm however, the rain splashes onto my face. The Little Dog sits patiently outside the coffee shop.

Yesterday I lay in the arms of a beautiful boy who wanted me to fuck him. His cat curled up in a shoe box.

After he came we lay watching Glee in bed.

Mawkish, sentimental nonsense, a world invented by gay men where periodically an entire orchestra will appear from nowhere and youngsters will start singing hearty cover versions of popular tunes. A world run by the LGBT community. Bullying each other with waspish bon mot.

The drama is lackluster and situational.

The one-dimensional characters problems are slight, their solutions are wholly achievable. They worry to the point of suicide about their home town until they are saved by the gay hero.

This new gay frontier, where blue-collar dads talk like Kant, where black trans boys walk freely and unchallenged around a mid-west high school in full drag… this homo-utopia merely betray the dreams these gay writers had about their own youth. The dream of freedom.

The episode starred Whoopie Goldberg and Kate Hudson as teachers. Teachers masquerading as judges from America’s Got Talent.

“You’re Fired!” “You’re Cut!”

But of course Kate has a drinking problem and a lost dream and Whoopie wants to be Maya Angelou.

I took the dog and the train into Manhattan where I met with old friend Oscar Humphries who looked amazingly well.

We have had our fair share of adventure (all over the world) these past ten years:  Driving 24 hours into the Australian bush to a Bachelor and Spinster ball  for the Sydney Morning Herald.  Louche nights in Paris and London…

Son of Dame Edna Everage creator Barry Humphries he is perhaps one of the most talented yet self-destructive people I know. We went to an NA meeting on Prince St. Then dinner at Cafe Select.  I just adore him.

I had a late date after dinner with a charming man. We brought cup cakes and drank hot chocolate on West 4th St.

I climbed into bed at midnight and fell straight to sleep.

Nightmare: The Cohen’s, David and his 6 children are looking after The Little Dog. I bump into the youngest son who tells me without compassion that “You’ll probably be sad when I tell you this but…” they had to put The Little Dog to sleep because it was too ‘nippy’.

Were I the Moor I would not be Iago.
In following him I follow but myself;
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so for my peculiar end.
For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In compliment extern, ’tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at. I am not what I am

 

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Dawn. So much to be grateful for.

One day, when the storm has past, I will tell you everything. Not just the pretty pictures. Not just the elegant parties.

1.

Saw Premium Rush with John and Valoree Papsidera at a plush private screening room.

An exciting, gritty movie with a huge problem at its core: The bad cop played by Michael Shannon is not really a bad cop… he’s too funny.

So, come the last scene, the conclusion… I was left feeling cheated.

The last scene is terrible.

I did not feel as engaged with the story as one might have hoped.

There were too many chances for the main character Wilee (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) to make different sorts of choices. He could have called the police. He could have returned the package. He could have stayed at home.

Great use of New York and great ethnic casting.

2.

Perhaps, like so many people, I am in denial?

It is not far off… the conclusion.

I have had a lingering cold/flu. Sweats.

Script notes arrive and I am loathed to open them, even though I know that they will be good. Brilliant.

How does one turn a life event into a work of fiction? Well, obviously, you have to jettison the truth.

I spent the larger part of yesterday in Venice. My favorite location. Stalking my favorite haunts. It’s like Whitstable. I know so many people. Casual acquaintances. Unlike my home town, where they have known me all my life, their understanding of me is based on what they read.

After the LA Weekly piece they are well aware of what is going on and mask their desire to pry with small talk.

Sometimes I wake up and think I should go to an AA meeting but I’ll wait until I am in another city.

It is the truth: art heals. Remember when I was sick five years ago with my leaky spine? Good God, that was painful.

Convalescing, I stayed with David Philp and his wonderful wife (art critic and broadcaster) Hunter Drohojowska-Philp in their gorgeous Beverly Hills home. She brought beautiful books for me to look at and set art work at the end of the bed.

The pale yellow room designed by Jenny Armit became a temporary sanctuary. Until I was well again.

3.

I had a long chat with an old buddy in London, someone I worked with repeatedly in the old days. A great benefactor.

It’s cold outside and hot inside the house. I open the door and let the mountain in.

The garden, this year, has matured into the garden of my dreams.

Bumped into Drew Pinsky at CNN, we were both sprayed orange for our various TV appearances. He was sweet, as he always is. We hugged and gossiped. He asked if I had read Jennie’s book. I told him that I hadn’t but I’d get around to it sooner or later.

The children make me laugh. I sit with them watching Barbie cartoons and they mock Charlie’s new girlfriend (Charlieissocoollike) children can be very cruel and very funny.

Weird clicking on my telephone. I think my phone is being tapped. Why?

I love this picture.  Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud in Wheelers.

1.

Waking up at Robby’s apartment.  West Hollywood.  Feeling like I have a hangover.  I haven’t.  I’m still not drinking.  Waiting for the right moment…but it never comes.  The sanctity of sobriety.

It’s hard after nearly 16 years to think about the right time to start drinking.

A woman I know from the programme called yesterday.  I told her that I had renounced AA.  “How’s that working out for you?”  She pried condescendingly.

I faked a dropped call.

2.

Saturday pre pride party.  Good fun.  The über gays.  The fake NYC producer I mentioned in an earlier post sitting at his table wondering how I manage to surround myself with such beauty.  He looked exasperated.  Staring over at us.

Pride was a great deal of fun.  On the streets.  The floats have not changed for 30 years: muscle boys and drag queens.  Not very inventive.

I stayed at the London Hotel courtesy of my Kuwaiti friends. They pitched up at 8am.  We ate smoked fish and Quiche for breakfast.

3.

Nothing is obvious.  Just when you thought you’d never kiss anyone meaningfully ever again.

I saw you in the bar and knew you were the one.  A brief conversation.  Kisses, glances, then you pissed on me.  That was new to both of us but so damned exciting.  A mouth full of piss.  Then we spent the afternoon talking.  Eating.  Each other.

You left an impression.   Creases in the bed sheets.

4.

Without me even noticing it LA is full of gay men with beards.

Does this mean that they/we are growing up? That men are trumping boys? The aesthetic is not only very pleasing but means I get looked at all over again. I have some currency…if you know what I mean.

5.

I don’t have time to write this very often.  There’s a great deal to do.

I’m helping those boys in the jail, even though they don’t know it.  Meeting lawyers down town who are investigating conditions in the jail.  They seem shocked.  Young lawyers.  Fresh faced.  Idealists.

I try balancing my complaints with a broader understanding of the jail dynamic.  The deputies are not just cruel…they are frightened.  They do not treat the trans population with contempt because they hate gays, they are confused by the feelings the girls bring up in them.

Ernest lawyers ask how I would change things in the jail.  I am always prepared for those questions.

Last week I sat with Senator Ron S.Calderon who is co-sponsoring a bill in the State of California that would basically abolish the situation in which I found myself.  Protocols would have to be adhered to.  States right to decide trumping the draconian Immigration Department.

I drive for hours to get to the meeting and speak clearly and concisely.  I know that I am speaking on behalf of thousands of wrongly incarcerated immigrants.

I go to cities I would never usually visit.  I am introduced to people I would never usually meet.  Immigrant rights advocates, Methodist ministers.  I am familiar with Secure Communities.  I hear terrible stories.  They tell me that ICE operate like the Gestapo.  They spread fear in the immigrant communities, wrecking homes, lives, marriages, separating families, sending children into foster care.

6.

Then, there is the other work.  Kevin, my incredible new assistant, and I…running all over town.  Putting this show together.  Holding things together.

Today I see the doctor.  No good news all over again. I’m sure.

Wish me luck.

I just put my AA ‘Big Book’ in the trash.

Does this mean I will die? Well yes, eventually.

Does this mean I will drink again? Maybe, but not immediately.

Does this mean that I’ll stop believing in god? Definitely not.

“Like any cult, religion or philosophy, AA leans heavily on the good will and participation of its members. I like the saying “if you like everybody you meet in AA, you aren’t going to enough meetings“. People should not be accountable for ideas, only for their actions. I have never had high expectations of AA, and so they are usually exceeded by the results. “Faith without works is dead”. The book is overrated, Duncan, everybody knows that. But the Love in AA is palpable.”

Dan my friend wrote the above. Men like him initially convinced me that AA was good. I was attracted to their nuanced reasoning, their warmth, their ‘spirituality’. I was not wrong, people like Dan were the reason I kept going back.

Explaining AA to the uninitiated is like teaching a baboon how to knit.

Writing this, even now, I can convince myself to haul the AA Big Book out of the trash…that things weren’t that bad, that I should look at ‘my part’, that if only I had worked the 12 steps just a little bit harder…

The reason I moved to LA? The reason I uprooted my home, my life…myself? Alcoholics Anonymous.

The comfy Palisade stag meetings, the jolly Rodeo social, the stoic recovery center.

I loved UTA owner Jeremy Zimmer’s Saturday morning industry meeting where the producers, writers, actors and directors came to flay themselves before the UTA grandee.

I was rapt by the harrowing story of child sex abuse and violence therapist Sean McFarlane dramatically told when ever he was asked to testify.

I watched ‘Big’ Robert gather his flock of new comers/sponsees at the 7am Bank meeting and take them diligently through the twelve steps.

It took five years to see through each of these scam merchants.

Jeremy Zimmer uses his meeting to ensnare and compromise celebrities in trouble. Fellow alcoholic industry folk, realizing that Jeremy is a sick man do not risk leaving the meeting, nor do directors and actors who want his patronage. Jeremy Zimmer is a sadist. Laughing and joking as men cry pitifully about their ‘rock bottom’.

The only men he has compassion for are men that mean nothing to him professionally.

Sean McFarlane, perhaps the worst scam artist in the AA SAA organization, effectively getting rich men to pay to sponsor them.

Sponsorship is a service supposedly supplied ‘for fun and for free’ from elder AAers to the new comer, helping them understand the 12 steps, helping them understand the Big Book of AA…a sort of bible written by Bill Wilson the founder of AA.

Sean thinks nothing of taking huge amounts of money from naive new comers for his sponsorship services.

Sean (pronounced seen) McFarlane, provides counseling as a sex therapist but I have no proof that he has any formal training nor counseling himself, nor support, even a sponsor? If anyone has proof that this monster has any training…please provide it.

Sean oversees the fate of cheating celebrities who routinely fall from grace and into his Wednesday morning SAA meeting…needing their family back, their reputation saved, their need to disguise their pedophile peccadillos…put humpty dumpty together again.

Sean thinks he is a very big deal, a super hero, leaping over imagined cars to save his clients from tranny hookers bent on destroying his clients.

As for Big Robert, the multimillionaire ex basketball player…well it turns out that this self-proclaimed AA guru is in fact a compulsive liar who, whilst banging his sponsees heads with the big book bible…is in fact gorging on un-prescribed prescription meds. He routinely tells his group of sycophantic male followers that AA does not ‘shoot its wounded’…which is patently untrue.

I thought, when I moved to LA that finally…I had come home.

It is evident from the 2006/7 blogs that I loved it and it loved me. A family of men and women who could always forgive, would always forgive.

Well, that was the first of my mistakes. I was wrong about them. Perhaps when I moved here AA was different, I was different?

AA is a cult. Like scientology it trades on the secret lives of its members. Like scientology it requires devotion. Blind devotion. Like scientology there is a vile abuse of power. Those who want to wrestle the leadership, become gurus, lie and steal…all in the name of recovery.

Most so-called addicts and alcoholics are mental patients with no mental hospital to go to.

Look at the beautiful man at the top of this post. His name was Evan Landry. He was a friend of mine. An AA friend. Wow, I was bowled over with Evan, his aggressive, sexy ways…his vulnerability. He served in Iraq, he was an MMA fighter, I saw him fight.

He had a sexy girlfriend he shared with Mike Tyson but wasn’t above going to…how shall we say…the dark side.

Well, last night Evan Landry killed himself. Another AA tragedy. Today his friends think it is ‘sad but not unexpected’. They have buried so many friends, their indifference is as unexpected as Evan’s OD.

People like Sean McFarlane will remember him, use his death as evidence that we must never, ever leave AA.

His PTSD unaddressed, all he needed (according to his AA friends) was the 12 steps.

Like prescribing leaches for terminal cancer.

In the USA there are a hundred treatment centers where addiction can be fought with the ubiquitous 12 steps…if you have the money. In my experience getting help with any other mental condition is almost impossible.

Evan Landry put his faith in AA like so many of us did…but our problems were complicated by AA and sadly may have killed dear Evan and many men and women like him.

I don’t go to AA funerals because they are a sick joke. I might, however, go to this one. Just to laugh at the hypocrites that killed Evan with their medieval prescription for a better life.

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