There is something all at once despicable and wonderful about small town living. Small town people are small town people for a reason. They are exactly the same the whole world over… unless they’re living a double life (NYC and Upstate) after a few years… their brains begin to atrophy. They are left behind, destined for a life of small minded, tight-lipped misery.
Hudson is just like Whitstable. I’m used to the small town narrative.
Like Whitstable, every weekend Hudson fills with the fabulous and the not so fabulous. They arrive on packed trains from the city and in expensive SUVs. Yet, it is those stuck upstate season after season toiling year after year in Hudson or in outlying communities that are most damaged. As hard as I try steering myself clear from these half baked personalities and the inevitable drama, one is drawn to both like a moth to a flame.
They, the hapless year-rounders, want to know you as much as they don’t want to know you. When they meet you they quickly establish if you are a threat to their superiority. They want to feel superior. They gobble up half-truths on google. They regurgitate everything they think they know to whom ever will listen.
As I’ve written previously it is with neurotic, heterosexual, single, childless women that I have most trouble.
This week I had a run in with a woman who was in the habit of dumping dog shit over her fence and onto my land, then there’s a female fag-hag realtor related to the Woolworth family and recently fired from her realty business… after meeting me she called her ex relatives in Hollywood to spread misinformation… and then… most tragically an ex editor who limps from crowd to crowd soliciting sympathy for her bad choices wherever and whenever she can.
The realtor, Pamela Murphy is the poor cousin of producer Cassian Elwes rich ex-wife. She used to work for the very posh Hudson realtor Mary Mullane. The first time I met Pamela she spent an hour degrading Mary (who fired her) in a way I knew she would eventually degrade me. When it happened (as I knew it would) I called and reminded her that her shrill, unsophisticated demeanor had caused her to be a terminally single fag hag. That and her obvious alcohol abuse problem.
Hudson heterosexual males aren’t so bad. I’ve met a good-looking dog whisperer and an ex LA gay for pay property developer.
Mind you, the weekenders are not immune from pettiness. The ‘blond’ art dealer and her gay business partner have a couple of drinks and abuse her hapless husband. The slim, gay interior decorator with floppy hair confides that his business partner’s husband is lazy, that he doesn’t have a job, that the art dealer supports him… that she should never have married him.
That’s the problem with gay men… they want their best women pals married to them.
Listen, I am in opposition to most things. A legacy from fighting for my gay life since I was 13 years old. You don’t like gays? Fuck you. You don’t want gay people to shove their lifestyle down your throat? Let me shove this gay shit down your fucking throat.
I meet everyone who passes through Hudson. Bumping into legendary Micky Wolfson and iconic Joseph Holtzman the creator of Nest magazine, or the terrible Rob Roth (momentarily without Deborah Harry’s balls in his mouth) but escorting the totally insane Parker Posey. Sticking out her hand. “Hello, my name is Parker Posey.”
So, when I bumped into Bruce Cohen and Gabe his charming, much younger husband and their adorable daughter on Warren Street last weekend I was not entirely surprised. Bruce is looking haggard. He still has shoulder length, curly blond thinning hair, he looks like a straight stoner who can’t bring himself to get another look. As if his long curly blond hair defines who he is.
He’s a great producer but seemingly no longer with producing partner Dan Jinks. Remember it was they who asked me to direct Liberace starring Michael Keaton. Anyway, I wondered what he was up to and he said he was developing a gay history series with Dustin ‘Lance’ Black and Cleve Jones. I nearly threw up my breakfast. I couldn’t think of anything worse than a Lance Black gay history series created to ‘educate’ straight people. A Lance Black whitewashing of our history from the arbitrary starting point of Stonewall. I went on… why are you working with that idiot? Why not George Chauncey, Neil Bartlett, Stephen Fry… anyone but fucking Lance Black and Cleve Jones. Thankfully Bruce’s husband agreed.
And what about gay people of color I asked? Queer culture? Oh, Bruce reassured me, “We have a black man,” adding weakly, “We’re telling his story.” But let’s face it. Bruce and Lance aren’t interested telling the black gay story… because this show is for white straight people. What about lesbians I demanded? He buckled. Realizing that his white gay male documentary was going to be a big pile of exclusionary SHIT.
It galls me that people like Lance and Bruce get to tell our history… where were they when I was being visible at 13? Where were they when others were taking direct action for Outrage or Act Up? I’ll tell you what they were doing… they were hiding under the covers. Cowed by religiosity and gay fear.
I register their distaste. These gays. These cowardly white gays. Those white gays who rode on the coat tails of those of us who confronted the status quo. Whilst I was reminding straight people in the 1980’s how lucky they were to enjoy our clubs and bars, whilst I let them know that I did not enjoy the same privileges they took for granted… and risked their violent ire. Bruce and Lance were thinking only of themselves, propping up the white patriarchy.
Whilst i was making queer films and queer plays for queer people without deferring to straight people… men like Bruce and Lance and every gay male agent I met at all the big Hollywood talent agencies were telling me to stop telling queer stories because there was no future in it. Future = Money.