Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Alright. Okay.

You win. I AM the very worst blogger in the history of blogdom. In the history of computers, even. Possibly. There might be worse.

I told y'all I was ambivalent about this, right from the start. My life's just not that fascinating. I work way too much. I won't blog about that. When I'm not working, I'm trying to find time to spend with Tim. Between our various jobs and commitments, it's hard for us to find two consecutive days when we're both not working. We're able to deal with this, but it doesn't make for scintillating copy.

So let's see, I haven't been here in more than a month. Bad Mark. That's not true...I have been reading and enjoying your thoughts and comments. I had hastily posted an entry last month, entitled Another Country, regarding some perceived mistreatment I felt I'd received at the hands of some of the younger denizens of our forest. Having thoroughly vented my anger, shock and dismay, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the just, or at least that of the very tired.

I was surprised to see comments appear the very next morning. As I've mentioned before, this blog resides in a dark and mostly uncharted backwater here on the Internet, and only the most intrepid explorers seem to come upon it, and then again, only having followed the most explicit of instructions. Comments drift slowly through the ether on their way to the Mark of Kane. Therefore, I was surprised to see so many people I know and many I've yet to meet jump to my defense and offer consolation, advice and even a scolding or two. Many relayed their own encounters with other less than cordial bar habitues, some suggested delicately that perhaps it was time to hang up the old jock, and one gentleman even chastised me for the clique-ish behavior of my friends on the random Sunday afternoon. Imagine!

Just for the record, I don't actually spend an exorbitant amount of time in gay bars. Tim tends bar on Sundays and I spend (count 'em!) 3-1/2 hours there every week, meeting said clique-ish friends, playing the jukebox and roaring at an assortment of pirate jokes and John Waters dialog. I'm easy that way. Aside from that visit, Tim and I might drop by for a post-prandial at some local boite on the occasional Saturday evening. Mind you, we're generally home and asleep by midnight, way before the fun begins. In fact, both of the evil events I spoke of took place when I was out under the protective plumage of a bevy of bloggers.

So I was sort of surprised when I read this article. It seems I've been "mean-girled", not once, but twice. I am a fairly large target, so it's understandable. Maybe I should have seen the movie, just to know what my options for retaliation were. My only cinematic object lesson of that sort was Heathers, and we all know how badly that ended. When I was in high school, we much to busy extolling each other to "smile on your brother" and "love the one you're with", which sort of precluded this kind of nastiness. Our pettiness mostly extended to gossiping about who didn't inhale or couldn't handle their drugs. Well, forewarned is forearmed, and if anyone tries this shit with me again, I'll just have to kill them. Read about it here. If I ever write again.

So it's been that sort of a couple of months. Ask me what I've been doing? Working, mostly. Trying to go to the gym, and realizing I need to change facilities immediately. I'm just too old for the New York Sports Club, and the eye rolling is getting fierce. A few weeks ago, I was mistaken for the artist, Nayland Blake, and while on many levels I'm flattered, on others, not so much. Who here remembers the donut-feeding video? Though I did love his life-size gingerbread house. The whole gallery smelled wonderfully spicy.

We managed to get away for 3 or 4 days at the beginning of the month, heading off to New Hope, PA. We used to do this on a more frequent basis, but our weekend work schedules haven't permitted it in a couple of years. When Tim first brought me to the Raven ages ago, I was charmed by the drunken antics of the local country squires. It was almost sport to watch them lurch out of the bar, crawl to their respective cars and floor them out of the parking lot. I stopped staying at the Raven years ago, when I discovered that several locals had copies of the room keys and I was unpleasantly surprised to find one such enterprising individual entering our room late one night after the bar had closed. We moved across the street for a spell, but now it appears that both the Motel in the Woods and the Best Western have also been acquired by the Raven management. I was pretty disappointed by the lack of clientele, both at the bar and the restaurant, both of which I've enjoyed immensely in the past. All in all, it was rather lackluster, and the few people we actually spoke with were either staff or fellow New Yorkers. This left us lots of spare time to drive up and down both sides of the scenic Delaware River, poke through post-hippie New Hope and gentrified Lambertville, and hit the outlet shopping malls in Lahaska and Flemington. Oh yeah. Have I ever told you about our major requirements for vacation spots? Yeah. Gay bars and outlet shopping! See? We are shallow. That seemingly Venusian landscape above was taken at Peddler's Village, in Lahaska, PA. If you've never been, it can be overwhelming. Mind you, it's a sprawling complex of shops that specialize in collectibles, chotzkes and crap. And it's landscaped within an inch of it's life. There are expensive restaurants, and yes, you can spend the night in one of several hotels. Trust me on this: it's the whitest place on earth. Bar none.

When I wasn't working or outlet shopping (I bought one shirt...not exactly a great haul. Tim came home with bags!!!), I mostly spent the time reading. In the past 30 days or so, I have read the following books, in the following order:

Midnight at the Palace: My Life as a Fabulous Cockette, by Pam Tent.

Michael Tolliver Lives, by Mr. Maupin.

The Fabulous Sylvester, by Joshua Gamson.

Can anyone discern a theme here? Sherman, set the WABAC (it's okay, you can pronounce it Wayback) machine for San Francisco, 1969.

True confession: I once had Tim make a pilgrimage with me to 2400 Fulton Street. If you know why, you're definitely my friend. Anyway, Sweet Pam's book is very nice, and it's odd and sad that the only published record of the Cockettes was written by one of the 3 or 4 genital females involved in the group. Mostly, everyone else has passed on, in one way or another. The Cockettes came to New York just as I was on the cusp of coming out, and I remember that debacle well. My former next door neighbor was an Angel of Light, and I clearly remember the pailletted billboard of Hibiscus at the corners of Christopher and Seventh Avenue, about the smoke shop. In truth, I wish I'd been there.

Mr. Maupin's book was a lovely read. It's always nice to meet up with old favorites; past denizens of his stories and the City. As I mentioned before, Michael's voice is clearly Armistead's; it's pretty much the same first person voice as Gabriel Noone in The Night Listener, which makes me read much of this as thinly disguised autobiography. Again. I can say that the three-way pick-up technique is pretty much as described. I find it funny that many of Armistead's fans are having a small field day finding small errors in quotation and chronology! I mean, come on!! Don't fault the man for a couple of bong hits! Or is it a vaporizer these days?

Lastly, the Sylvester book is sheer and totally surprisingly genius. The man has caught the zeitgeist of those times, but exactly. I would have thought that the last chapters would be the hardest to endure, knowing quite well of Sylvester's sad demise. Instead, the chapter that recalls the concert at the War Memorial Opera House in 1979 completely shattered me. Yes, I have that concert on vinyl, and yes, Joe and I just did our best imitations this past Sunday (these girls don't need them jewelries!). It's a document of the way we were, and our very own amazement at just how truly fucking fabulous we were.

The thread that runs through all these books is the nascent, newly forming gay community that so many speak of, and which, in reality, seems to have splintered into a million different rainbow colored shards. Two of these books peer back to our beginnings, while the other is firmly entrenched in the now, glancing back with nostalgia and longing for what sadly no longer exists.

Finally, Mr. Tim and I are heading up to Provincetown for a full, that's right, count 'em, TEN whole days!!! Yay!! If you're there and see us, say hey! If not, could you be just a little envious that two total working stiffs are off having such a good time at last? We truly deserve it.

I'll tell you all about it when I get back.

Sooner or later.


Blogger David said...

I enjoy reading your sporadic insights and recountings BECAUSE they are so rare. It's a treat when Super Daddy rouses and addresses the world yet again.

I'm kind of an in-betweener for the worlds you describe. I'm too old to belong to the Mean Girls set and too young to have lived through the nascent gay days that you and Joe enjoy reminiscing about.

Have a great time in P-town!

12:28 PM  
Blogger circleinasquare said...

I want to set my WABAC for the Lower East Side in the spring of 1974 -
for a whole bunch of reasons.

A main one is the opportunity to meet
the prequel of the man I know now.

12:32 PM  
Blogger DiamondFistWerny said...

It's nice to see you post! New Hope is a fun spot in the northeast. I try to trek up there at least once a year. As far as the angertwinkish experience. Screw it! I didn't see that post. Nowadays, I think most of us have a story to tell (in that department). I'm actually a very mellow, laid back guy; but was recently booted from a bar over a verbal scuffle initiated by a vipertwink. Unfortunately the bartender/bouncers favored the cute, young boi; over the actual justice of the situation. At any rate, hope you have fun in P'town. And I suppose I'll wait patiently for your next installment!


12:42 PM  
Blogger Armistead said...

Hi Mark,

It's wonderful to hear you liked "Michael Tolliver Lives" and we both wish you and your partner a jolly and relaxing time in P-town.

As to your earlier posting, we well remember having a lively chat with you that quiet evening in the Dugout. Thanks for the good company.

All the best,

Armistead and Chris

P.S. Those wolves who raised you should have told you that not everyone who's friendly to you in a bar is trying to pick you up.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just started Mr. Maupin's book and am thoroughly enjoying it. How I have missed Mouse !

8:36 PM  
Anonymous Raymond said...

Welcome back. When you post, it is always with thought and sensitivity. I concur with David. It makes all the times I check my favorites and see you haven't posted yet worth while.

Frenemys? Mean Girls? Eeegad. Where do people have the time? Like you my life is taken up with working two jobs and trying to fit in time with the husband and friend. A website with a friends intimate photos? Some people just need a therapist.

Have a great time in P-town. Such a wonderful place.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Ice John's World said...

Yay!Welcome come back and it is nice to see a new post from you!Have a great time in P-town!

1:09 PM  
Anonymous ralph said...

Regarding NYSC, maybe you go to the wrong branch. I'm the same age as you, not in the greatest of shape, and I don't get any withering glances. Of course, maybe I don't see any because I may need stronger glasses, but what I can't see won't hurt me. Enjoy your vacation!

10:40 AM  
Blogger RJ March said...

This entry is why I read your blog.

New Hope, P'town-- you are a glutton for punishment! I hope you have a great time. Somewhere there, there's a bookstore with signed copies of my books-- buy one!

Hurry back with great stories!

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

I go to the same NYSC that you do Mark - and believe me, it's a helluva lot better than the ones in Chelsea.

Also, the one we go to really isn't all that gay so I'm surprised that you're getting constantly "mean girled" there.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Stash said...

I was beginning to wonder whether you'd forgotten about this here website thingy. =P

1:23 PM  

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