Archives for posts with tag: Elizabeth Kucinich

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It’s been some time since I turned my back on this blog.  I rather ostentatiously announced that I would never blog again.   But it’s been a tumultuous year inter personally and internationally.   Not a great year to ignore.   The most important reason for not blogging?

Last year I met someone I have grown to respect tremendously, even though in the peripheral vision of the public eye he is perhaps one of the most private people I’ve ever called a friend.  He has become one of those closest to me.  In its former incarnation my blog had become a risky means to communicate my triumphs, failures and frustrations.  Those around me felt uncomfortable, aware they could end up in this personal blog at the mercy of my public point of view.

The closer I became to my friend, the more I grew to love his gentle disposition, his trust and generosity.  I did not want to endanger our friendship nor cause him or his family anxiety.   I stopped writing.  This week I mentioned to him why I had stopped writing my blog and how I might start writing again.  He was very supportive.

2.

I am an oaf.  The older I get the more clumsy I become.  Some people become physically inept.  I’ve become mentally less agile.  Tripping over myself when I get excited.  Wading through molasses when I get tired.   Writing this blog every day kept me alert.

There’s a red squirrel living in the barn, aggressively defending the ancient black walnut tree.  He’s not at all like a British red squirrel.  He’s more like a stoat.  He spent the autumn collecting walnuts, filling a cavity at the base of the tree with his foraging.   He sits peeling walnuts, industriously creating a midden beneath him.   When I don’t see him I worry the barn cat ate him. I hadn’t seen him for a week after the heavy snow but today he was back on his branch.  His fluffy tail and chattering warning off the grey squirrels who, even though they are thrice his size, run from him when he spies them stealing his stash.

The Little Dog is getting old.  He sleeps more.  His soft jowl is grey.  He has fatty lumps forming on his chest.  He loves a long walk and streaks ahead of me and Dude.  He must be 12-year-old.  Maybe.  I’ve no idea how old he was when we found him at the rescue.

I don’t have a TV.  It keeps me from the worst of the news cycle.  Twitter and Facebook keep me up to date.  The second screen.  Bloody hell.  I’m addicted to that thing.  I’ve tried hard to not look.  Tried an app that tells me how many hours a day I spend engaging with it.  Shocking.  My head down like a pious monk looking at the little screen.

3.

Last Easter Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich stayed here with me in Tivoli. They’ve bought a very scruffy farm in Poughkeepsie.  They are vegans. They eat tapioca for breakfast. I’ve never known two people to bicker as often as they do.  We went for long walks.  Dennis says, “You realise Trump is going to be our next president?  He’s going to win.” At lunch he repeated his assertion.  My nice white, affluent friends smile knowingly.  Crazy Dennis Kucinich.  They didn’t believe him, I didn’t want to believe him.  A few weeks later the two gay men who live opposite this house put up a Trump/Pence sign on their lawn and… I knew Dennis was right.  President Trump was inevitable.

There were many dinners and lunches prepared on North Road this year.  It seemed to irritate my nice friends whenever I cautioned a Trump presidency.  “Only angry white men will vote for him.” they said.  They assured me there weren’t enough angry white men to defeat the women and the people of color Trump had offended.

They think I am an angry white man.

Trump won the primary.  The establishment attempted to shame him with crude tape recordings, unseen tax bills, the stories of unpaid artisans.

I felt isolated every time I repeated my assertion.  How could I be so sure?  “Do you have a degree in political science?”   I was asked by an affluent gay man peering at me suspiciously.  “No, I listen.”  I said. “I listen to people far away from the shrill, gay echo chamber.  I sit with AA people.  Local working people, the kind of people who plough your drive or file documents in the local hospital or work in the probation department… the kind of people sophisticated city folk never engage.  They love Trump.”

The AA folk I met all over the state confirmed my suspicion that things were not as the pollsters claimed.  The double-digit Clinton lead.  The hyperbole.  In hind sight the polls now seem like establishment propaganda.

On the TV despondent hacks wondered why every time Trump made a gaffe or said something untoward his ratings soared.  Upstate, men and women of all ages had already decided Trump was their guy.  They did not care about pussy grabbing.  Ruth said, “He can grab my pussy.”  They did not care about Trump’s debate performance or his racism.  The language Trump used… they could understand.  I heard their roar of approval echo over the mountains and into the valley every time Trump shat all over the politically correct.

My nice liberal friends were too busy believing in Clinton’s invincibility.  They refused to listen to anything other than hollow reassurance from other liberals that a Trump presidency was totally impossible.

Some polls, discredited by the establishment, indicated Bernie Sanders was the only Democrat in the race who could comfortably beat Donald Trump.  My nice white friends scoffed.  “We don’t want a Bernie revolution.” Amy said.

“When Trump’s elected you’ll wish it was Bernie’s revolution rather than Trump’s.”  I replied.

Consternation at the dinner table.  “Trump isn’t going to win,” they said.  “He can’t win.” What seemed evident to me became increasingly absurd to others.  The choice was obvious:  It was either Sander’s revolution or Trump’s.  Revolution was what the people craved.

Hillary Clinton won the Democratic presidential nomination.  They kicked Bernie to the curb, unwilling to work with him.  Clinton’s affable, dull running mate (whose name I’ve forgotten) made no impression on the nation and Pence effortlessly destroyed him during the vice presidential debate.

The affluent white people I know in New York City have become complacent, deaf to the pleas and need of the rest of the nation.  Whilst my city friends were slightly inconvenienced by the banking crisis, the working poor suffered real consequences: they lost their homes, their jobs and their dreams.  They foolishly believed affable President Obama would help them, but Obama ignored the opiate epidemic claiming the lives of desperate Americans, he ignored the many suicides of hopeless young men.  Whilst we were applauding Obama’s inclusive rhetoric, cheering his trans toilet initiative.  A black president honoring the trans community…  I heard a different story from my local white friends of all ages, smoking cigarettes after the AA meeting.   They recoiled from the trans toilet debate… unable to register their disdain for fear of PC retribution.

Meanwhile Robby Mook, Clinton’s gay campaign manager, deliberately chose to spurn the votes of the working poor and went after the soft Republican vote believing them more educated and therefore outraged by Trump’s racism and misogyny.  It was a catastrophic decision.  Mook’s strategy was informed by the ringing lies he heard in the pink echo chamber.  The same hall of whispers I am privy to.  They said, Clinton will win because Trump is a clown.  I was getting blocked on Facebook for pleading with people to get ready for President Trump.  Empirical evidence rather than scientific opinion.  I was listening to my AA friends.  I was looking at the Trump/Pence signs sprouting up all over New York state.

The gays alienated themselves from anyone who didn’t think like them or look like them or agree with their blind devotion to Clinton.  The merest questioning of her integrity was perceived as heresy.  The more they blocked me the more I realised just how hopeless those people would be the morning after the election.

I was invited to an upstate ‘Pink Belt’  gay pool party.  The hosts and guests were short, buff and white.   In spite of my fear of mediocrity I had a very pleasant time.  The short white host saw me out.  I mentioned my fear of gay pool parties as I thanked him for inviting me.  “Don’t worry,” he smiled “I’m out of shape too.”   I paused and looked into his big blue eyes.  

The gays sneer at the working poor who vote against their own interests… forgetting the working poor have no interests.  They have no Obama Care, they have no home to call their own.  They limp from one bill to another, doing their best, never daring to dream.  Trapped by debt, obesity, addiction and religion.  The working poor do not have ‘interests’ to vote against nor common cause.  They were angry, raw and unrepresented whilst Obama touted gender neutral bathrooms.

Where was the change they could believe in?  Where was the change we could all believe in?

In the early hours of the morning November 9th 2016 I was on a late train from Grand Central Station to Poughkeepsie NY.  There was a middle-aged woman wearing an ‘I’m With Her’ baseball cap.  She had been at the Javitz Convention Center waiting for Hillary’s victory speech. She sat on the train weeping.  Her face wet with tears.  The conductor asked if she was ok.  She railed against Trump.  The conductor said, “Oh dear, things are going to work out just fine.” Young people started laughing, jeering at her.  Trump supporters.  She sobbed inconsolably.  The mob sneered at Obama even though many had voted for him.  They were excited, they were excited for a new American dawn.

Hillary Clinton beat Robby Mook on his chest with both her fists when she realised she had lost the race.

In the UK the Brexit referendum happened earlier in 2016.  My Mother and Brother voted to leave the EU.  Leave won the popular vote.  Hate crimes became a daily occurrence.  I felt sad and shocked.  England shrank before my eyes.  The sickening thud of jack boots on the streets, austerity leading inevitably to the solutions of the anti-establishment right-wing. I lamented our decision.  Others came to their senses too late, wishing their protest vote hadn’t had such an impact.

All over the world people are shaking the tree, expecting it to afford them cover.

Ori posted a picture on Instagram.   A dinner with friends the night after the 2016 presidential election.  10 white, identical looking gay men in their thirties… commiserating.  ‘This is why we lost the election’ I wrote beneath the picture. ’10 white gay men believed Clinton would win because they repeated wishes as if they were facts.’  He blocked me.  Nobody wants to believe that they are part of the problem. 

In the aftermath of the presidential election Hillary Clinton vanished into the woods of Chappaqua.  The rich got richer. Those friends who scorned my prediction were gracious enough to acknowledge I was right.  But what of it?   Clinton supporters are still unable to grasp what is happening, they blame the Russians, they blame Wikileaks,  they blame the electoral college, they blame the polls, Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders… they blame everyone but Clinton.   Their fury is palpable.  Their distress acute.

We wait for January 20th.

 

Callicoon NY

My third meeting with Gore Vidal.

Two years ago I was introduced to him by Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich when Dennis Kucinich was running for President.

The second time I met Vidal it was with Stephen Fry when Stephen was here in LA writing his book.

On both occasions I had to share him with many others.

On this occasion Charlie Parsons and I had him all to ourselves.

Gore looks very frail.  He looks like a child.  Sitting in his wheelchair, his clothes hanging off his slight frame.  His eyes still blaze, his smile..when he smiles…lighting up his whole face.   He looks ever so slightly like Monty Burns.  He remains mesmerizing.

He is still king of the brilliant bon mot.

Charlie  arrived from London and checked into his hotel.

My good buddy is here in LA so we get to spend a great deal of time together.  He is such fun and very gently mocks how seriously I take myself.

We sat with Gore at his dining room table in his beautiful Spanish revival house (for sale) in the Hollywood Hills riveted to his take on contemporary America.

Sitting with his assistant and his realtor Delphine.  He offered us white wine but we opted (obviously) for water.

Gore recently sold his home in Italy so the house is crammed not only with thousands of books piled in every room but also an extraordinary collection of renaissance art.

A ginger cat with huge eyes lay on his bed.

We sat in the dining room chatting, covering a great deal of ground in a very short amount of time.

We discussed his dancing carp, we discussed the errant Charlie Sheen who he had once played a corrupt senator opposite in The Shadow Conspiracy.

He laughed at how he was always asked to play corrupt senators.

We discuss Sarah Palin .  He impersonates Palin brilliantly reducing us to fits of giggles.  He described her as ‘un-American’, he laments her lack of intelligence.

We discuss pre-war Germany and how the catastrophic economic situation here perfectly mirrors the situation there; creating a moment in time when a person like Palin can grab the attention of the people and make them feel as if she alone can provide simple answers for difficult problems.

Like any snobby intellectual he scorns the stupid whenever he can.   He laments how Obama has been stopped by the vicious right from achieving anything esteemable.

Yet, Obama’s people were also described as ‘stupid’.

Next week he will be with Gorbachev.  He holds Gorbachev in very high regard.

Not only is Gore Vidal a remarkable man, he is a remarkable gay man.  Inspiring me to understand the old, old gay man in my film and who he might be.

Such a wonderful history.  Belligerent, surly, glamorous.

During one of the TV debates at the 1968 Democrat Convention erudite William F. Buckley, Jr. called Gore a “goddamn queer” and threatened to beat him up.

When we left the house we sat quietly in the car making sense of this extraordinary moment.

Gore Vidal, embittered by this contemporary America.  He is saddened that corruption is rife.

Like anyone with a big brain he wants to understand how this could have happened to such a great country.

He mentioned my pet American peeve, that Americans boast continually that they are the very best at everything in all the world.

That they have the best police, firemen, soldiers, scientists, schools, healthcare, healthcare delivery… the list is as long as you want to make it.

Yet, elsewhere people live longer, are better educated, live safely etc.  Gore mocked American grandiosity.

He said, “I don’t know many Swedish boys who are desperate to become American, look at the people who do…”

At one point Vidal started talking about the end of slavery, how the blacks were deliberately uneducated by the whites and if they showed any desire for an education, for reading and writing, he said that they were “Taken out and shot.”

I remember a Chris Rock skit when he imagines what that must have felt like, to disguise ones intelligence for fear of ones life.

Now we are all slaves with no real need to be educated.

Do American white folk still resent an educated black man?  Is that what he was trying to say?  Was this why, when he was elected, people here kept on telling me that Obama would be assassinated?

I drove home listening to NPR but I couldn’t listen to anything other than the conversation we had just had with this frail old man.

When he dies something of old America, good America will die with him.

Chris Rock

Gore Vidal with Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich

The past few days have been lovely.

Breakups are never usually times to relish but this breakup has been very good to me.

This is exactly the time in my life to take action and find a new perspective.

I took action by finding my peers in gay AA who might, in turn, shed some light on my relationship with the other.

In the scheme of things I was just an inconsequential blip in his life and I would be kidding myself if I thought differently.

I certainly could not compare with his other enduring relationships.    Anyhow, we seem to be communicating like friends and I am largely over what he may or may not be doing-though sitting here alone writing causes me a certain doleful curiosity.

Let me tell you about the past few days.

On Saturday I went to the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills to see the Andreas Gursky show with my friend Dom.  We ate lunch at the Montage-he had the steak tartar and I, the charcouterie.

The Gursky show was good but uninspiring.  Huge photographs framed in monstrous oak frames.    Big forgettable pictures…that’s all.

Huge photographs of the insides of neutrino splitting machines buried miles under Japan and filled with super purified water.  Satellite images of the great oceans.  It was all spectacle and no substance.

After our gallery visit I bought a pair of very baggy white trousers in some outlet store.  Gucci $48.

We popped into the new Missoni on Rodeo designed by my once boyfriend Patrick Kinmonth.  The outside is PERFECT, like a huge basket, woven metal softening the corner of Rodeo and Little Santa Monica.

The inside, however, is a bit of a mess.

I suppose the concept is the shopper wanders down a grand boulevard with variously sized vitrine to grab ones attention.   It was too theatrical.

The men’s area, the woman’s area, the home store etc.  It doesn’t work, it’s a mess. The interior finishes are very beautiful but the layout left too much to be desired.

Again, the outside is exquisite.

I could tell you very wonderful stories about Patrick but I will save them for another day.

The last time I saw Patrick Kinmonth he was reclining on a velvet sofa at the Chateau Marmont with Mario Testino.

He drawled that I could have been so much more than I was.  He is, after all,  a very grand queen; something I long abandoned aspiring to be but glad that I had the chance to meet.

For a few glorious months at the age of 21 he totally indulged me.

Sadly, I didn’t really fall for him.  I fell in love with his impeccable style.

Actually, he may very well be the Diana Vreeland of our age.  That plaudit might have been reserved for Hamish Bowles but Hamish doesn’t dress well enough or take enough care with his appearance.

Saturday night we celebrated Josh’s continuing testicular cancer treatment.  Every one of his friend brought ball-shaped hors d’œuvre to commiserate his recent loss and the chemo that began today.

He is an incredibly brave 29-year-old and described his cancer as an ‘inconvenience’.   I have huge respect for that young man.

GLADD awards and party on Saturday night that I was not invited to.  Odd really as I was the only out gay man in recovery ever on a Dr Drew show.  I am definitely not pretty enough for GLADD.

I suppose that this was the Velvet Mafia’s way of expressing their disapproval.   The sex addict message is not one the gays are eager to hear.

Even though conversion parties, bug chasing and crystal meth are discussed at length amongst the young gay men I know.  Perhaps this is only a myth?  A meth myth?  It is much easier for the gay community to concentrate on attacks from the outside than focus on the damage we do to ourselves.

Dane

On Sunday I met Gore Vidal again (the last time was with Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich during Dennis’s run for President) he described the sad state of the USA, describing it as rotten and then said (rather surprisingly) that he would like his bones buried in France and not, as he has always said, beside his lover in Washington.

I wonder if he was just being dramatic.  It was lovely to see him…  even though he is beyond frail.

Others at the party included the divine Ben Barns who played the other Dorian Gray, he told me how disappointed by the film he was.

Quite right!  Not nearly as interesting as our deeply flawed Dorian.    Eric Mc Cormack, Rufus Sewell and Michael Sheen all friends from different places and all at Stephen’s party.  I had a wonderful time.

So nice to be included by someone who the British might describe as a National Treasure.

Stephen is, of course, the most gracious of all hosts.  The food was excellent, the Pellegrino..well there’s not much more I can’t tell you about Pellegrino.

I took my friend Dane who looked a bit like Tarzan.  He was wearing a tiny black vest… nipples like peanuts.

Met a British director called Toby and after Stephen’s we decided to hit WeHo where I met a whole host of adoring sex rehab fans but regardless of their drunken attempts to get into my boxer briefs-I slept alone.

It is simply too soon to start meeting folk again-especially after the feast of affection, love and intimacy I have gorged myself on this past few months.

If I miss anything about dear old HIM I miss that I will never kiss him again, that he will never nestle in my arms and sleep as lovers do.  Hey ho, that’s going to be a hard one to replicate any time soon.