Saturday, December 27, 2003
I'm downstate, on a 44k modem, so I don't have long to post...here goes:
What kind of American family does not safely lubricate the holidays by imbibing copious amounts of alcoholic beverages?
I have not had a drink since Monday, December 22, 2003, and I have smoked only one cigarette since 4:45 Tuesday, December 23, 2003. The not drinking I didn't mind until today, when I had to spend two hours in the basement of a Baptist Church while my aunts and uncles decorated for my grandparents' anniversary celebration, which is tomorrow.
There is no coffee aside from instant in the house, no tea aside from Lipton. There is only one place in the city that is not a gas station or a McDonald's where I might purchase coffee. This is also not good. I have been drinking a lot of Diet Coke. This dehydrates me. And the water smells bad.
Still, I have been pretty well-behaved. My mother even said so. But there are the moments when my chest physically aches in protest, and to keep myself from screaming, "fuck you, this whole shit is shit!" and running outside and chain smoking, I have to keep telling myself, only two more days.
I am very thankful that my stepdad, my mom, and my sister is here, but I think that if I have to hear another PG-rated joke about straight sex I will tell whoever said it to fuck off.
Monday, December 22, 2003 I am happy just to know that I'm His child.
Wow! It's been so long since I've last posted. I almost forgot.
On Thursday I go to do laundry. At this point, even the hangers-on have left - even my friends who really do LIVE in Hyde Park are gone. All the other students in my building are gone. As far as I know, it's just me and the boys and Heidi. I throw my stuff into the washing machines, add detergent, and then set off to walk. It's cold, it's snowing lightly, and I'm on a mission. But I run into Andy and Evelyn, who invite me over to have cookies with them. I say yes, we part, and I continue on my mission. I walk to the Borders here in Hyde Park and start looking. But I can't find it - so I get help, and after rifling through most of the CDs, we finally reach it: the soundtrack to Angels in America. So good. So, so good. Anyway, we had cookies and watched MTV's Homecoming specials and then some of Down to You, a fine film if there ever was one.
Friday: suburbs. I went to Naperville for Rob's family's Christmas Party. It would take too long to describe, but I do have to say that it's interesting to see how insensitive people can be, and how that insensitivity can translate to a kind of unconscious, entrenched racism and homophobia.
Saturday: Back home, walking through downtown early on a weekend morning. It's cold, windy, empty, and I am rockin' the Angels soundtrack. Brunch with the boys, visit to the Seminary Cooperative. Later: Hedwig and the Angry Inch at bartender's apartment.
Yesterday I shopped and bought a cute outfit for Christmas Eve dinner.
Middlesex was good. I've moved on to In Cold Blood.
Tuesday, December 16, 2003 Tell them how I've defied gravity!
Sorry I didn't post yesterday. I've been busy reading Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides, which is very good; being fabulous; being lazy while being fabulous; and sending waves of love to him as he battles the flu.
So, some supersad drama: I was out late on Saturday night and had to work six hours Sunday morning to afternoon. I came home, chatted with Scott a bit, and took a nap. Since no one was home, I left the door to my bedroom open, sleeping on top of my blankets and such. Only to wake up with a gasp and a start at 9 PM, two hours into Angels, right (I might add) as Roy Cohn was dying. I threw on some clothes and practically ran/slid on the ice to the boys' place. Afterwards we had a sauce that the boys had been cooking for about four hours and a nice, long chat, in which we also talked about how we are SO an urban family.
Speaking of which, my nights this week are almost determined by the gay family: Angels on Sunday (oh and I am so so in love with Justin Kirk, btw), Showtunes last night, GAYTV tonight, the Sidetrack Christmas party and a benefit with Mark tomorrow, and something that I can't remember on Thursday.
Showtunes was good last night. There were tons of people there, but the weirdest things happened in that A) I did not get drunk and B) I was there also to meet Diana's new girlfriend. So we met, she's super cute and super fun. In walks Mark and they RUN at each other and hug and scream and so on. We had NO idea that they'd known each other.
In about a week I'll be boarding a train that will take me to my Christmas destination: Quincy, Illinois. Here is the city's website. I am trying to prepare myself, mentally at least, for my trip there, since I have to do so everytime I go. Turn down the burner a bit, less talk about God, no talk about sex, no swearing. But at least I'll get to see my mom and stepdad (who I haven't seen in a year) and my sister (who I haven't seen in six months). A few of my cousins know about the "g" word, and they're pretty cool with it. My aunts and uncles and I have danced a quite complicated dance for the past couple of years about it - they refuse to say the "g" word, but hint around it a lot, and I pretend like I have no idea what they're talking about, partially because I want to hear them say the "g" word and partially to spare them the knowledge that they both want to know and would kill them to know. I think that, for my grandparents, the idea of "gay" doesn't really exist. Anyway, it'll be an interesting trip nonetheless.
Snow yesterday! And it accumulated! Not much, just a few inches, but enough to blanket the streets and the sidewalks and the parks. The world looked truly BLUE this morning on my walk to work. I love snow! I love winter!
I saw LOVE, ACTUALLY last night with Joe and Christopher. I wanted to like it a lot, at the very least because my buddies Hugh, Colin, and Alan are in it. And because it was made by those clever romantic comedy masters from Great Britain. But its tone was really inconsistent, because it tried to bounce back and forth between "zany, irreverent, self-mocking romantic comedy" and "serious romantic comedy about important stuff that's still funny." But it was almost worth seeing because Andrew Lincoln was a cutie and dressed really well and held up a card to Keira Knightley and said "to me, you are perfect." And I almost think it was worth seeing because Rodrigo Santoro was in it, and with very few clothes on.
And the neighborhood breathes a huge sigh of relief.
Good morning, there. I'm at work, sitting in the basement, and walking to campus saw SO many people with suitcases trolling around the neighborhood. One of the weird things about living in a college neighborhood is the feeling of itinerancy the place has sometimes - I don't feel like an itinerant (I'll be here until December 23), but so many people practically beat each other up in a rush to get to the airport AS SOON AS FINALS WEEK IS OVER that the neighborhood feels almost ravaged. But then it settles down, it gets quiet again, I stop by Jimmy's for a drink, I go to the Med Bakery for coffee and they say hi to me, the homeless guy who's "in the life, too" bums a cigarette off me, I run into some kids that I taught a few years back, and people recognize me because I live here. And that's a nice feeling.
It's also a little weird to sit here and not have to do school reading, but still sort of have to do school reading. I've borrowed all these books from Heidi that I'm planning on reading: Middlesex,Life of Pi. And I'm also going to try and read Crime and Punishment. Or I'll just sit on my ass and watch tv. Oh, speaking of which:
Martha Stewart, who used to scare me and still does, but now in a good way, is on TV here in Chicago at 1 AM weeknights. It's a very good procrastination tool, and you learn something, too.
The show was pretty good last night. Alex Billings was by far the best part. She did this recurring piece called "Christmas and Lana Turner," in which she played her mom. It was really funny and really moving. And she looks great for someone who's post-op, had a big drug problem, and is positive.
My story was pretty good. I was really nervous at first, and that nervous energy translated into trying to house manage - I couldn't really help it, since it was at the MCA, where I already house manage, so it was like switching into default mode. I was also really nervous because my story was the first part of the show. I had about fifteen people there with me to see the show, which made it a bit better, but I almost bit my right index finger raw during the story because I was so nervous. The caricature of me was a little exaggerated, and there were some factual inaccuracies (for example, when I came out to my Mom I had NO IDEA that I'd be at the U of C). But it was moving in a way that I can't quite characterize right now.
I'm going to try and talk to Megan and to Connor about jobs for next year in the coming week. I've already talked to Connor about going out and grabbing a drink and I'm going to email Megan on Monday and ask her for a print copy of my story and see if I can pick her brain sometime soon.
For some reason this morning, I started thinking somewhat seriously about who I'll vote for in the Illinois primary. I don't remember, but I think it's one of the ones that still matters (last time, when I was still a registered Republican, I waited to switch my registration JUST so I could cast a meaningless vote for John McCain, after the nomination had already been decided). Indeed, some people call me a "homocon." But, as a happy homosexual who fought with his parents, I am a registered Democrat, so I get to choose between everything from crazy Kucinich to hot-in-a-bathing-suit Clark. I guess the biggest question for me is: should I vote for someone who I think can beat President Bush (who I don't think is the most evil thing ever to walk the earth - but I'm not exactly happy with his presidency, either) or someone whose "mission" I believe in (because these two are not exactly the same thing)? I.e., it looks like the race is shaping up to be Dean v. Clark, or maybe Dean v. Clark v. Gephardt. But whatever. Dean's got something of a compelling message, he supports continuing the Iraqi occupation despite his opposition of the war, he's not as liberal as people think (the GOP is going to make him into the next McGovern, and that will probably work, even though I think they're wrong). But Clark's got foreign policy experience like nobody's business and might actually provide a viable Democratic alternative to Bush. I just don't know...part of me thinks that, hell, it's the primaries, I should vote for someone in whom I believe before I have to cast a ballot for the "lesser of two evils" in the general election. But, so we can all remain informed (by spin), here are the candidates' websites. Don't forget to read between the lines, kids!
- Howard Dean for America - General Wesley K. Clark
This Friday and Saturday, About Face Theatre presents The Gift, a collection of holiday-themed stories. The show is at 8 PM in the theater at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave. Megan Carney, the Artistic Director of their Youth Theatre, during her annual training workshop for my teaching program here at UT, had us generate holiday-themed stories. I told the story about when I came out to my mom The Day After Thanksgiving, 1999. That story is going to be in the show, so I'll be there, posse in hand, to relive the memories. Also - everyone's favorite transsexual lesbian, Alex Billings, will be there to sing Christmas Carols. Join us! Tickets are only $10 for "students" and "industry" folks. If you live in Hyde Park, we're leaving on the 6 PM #173 bus from the Reynolds Club. Others - we'll see you there.
The Rufus Wainwright Concert.
Rufus's and my legal team, so as not to compromise the burgeoning status of our relationship, have largely prohibited me from discussing what went on most of that night, but I can say that the concert was fantastic. My husband wore a long-sleeved, white poly-rayon shirt and women's pants that had long-dinged rainbow stripes of suede on them. He sang ever single song from Want One (opening with "I Don't Know What it Is"), three songs from his first album ("Foolish Love," "April Fools," and "Beauty Mark"), four from Poses ("Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk" as an encore, "Grey Gardens," "Poses," and "One Man Guy"), and a few songs from the upcoming Want Two. He encouraged us all to write our congressmen and women to urge them to release the album. My letter to good old Bobby Rush is on its way. Darling R also continually mentioned his love for Ann Sather's - apparently he was staying in the City Suites Hotel next door. And, finally, I cried during the song about his father - because my father did the same thing to us when I was a kid, except that it wasn't snowing outside because it happened in Florida.
Angels in America. So much has been said about the movie, most of it positive, and I'll line up to provide a ringing endorsement of it. Mark, Christopher, Deborah, Joe (who's back!), and I all watched it at the boys' place on Sunday night. I'd read the play before but am a little too young to have seen any of the productions of it. Needless to say, all the stylization on the page that makes little sense, as well as the arch language that reads a little pretentious, translated very well to the (sort of) big screen. I cried three times. Once during the scene where Prior is crawling through the hallway and Lewis wants to call the ambulance and Prior tells him not to because he'll never leave the hospital if he does. Then again during the big confrontation between Prior/Lewis and Joe/Harper at the end of Chapter 2. Then, finally, just before the angel arrives, when Prior hallucinates that he is dancing with Lewis and then, as the ground shakes, he chants to himself about not being afraid. By the time the credits rolled I couldn't even see the tv screen. I definitely can't wait for the second part. You can watch a preview at HBO's website for the show here.
Sara's response to the news about my crying to Rufus and then to AinA: "jon, so much crying recently! i think you need an emotional vacation. ormaybe just a break from movies about AIDS."
But I still think it's important.
Since then I've been in a whirl of writing and frenzy a/k/a Finals Week at the U of C. Someone should really do an ethnography of finals week here. Anyway, my Augustine paper turned out to be okay, fourteen pages that I wrote in one night that actually makes some sense (ooh, look, there, Jonnyboy, you've made an ARGUMENT!). My interview transcript for Chauncey's class turned out to be 49 pages long and wouldn't print from the disk I'd saved it to. But it's okay now. And I wrote the seven page paper accompanying the transcript on Wednesday morning, from 3 AM - 6 AM. My paper for my independent study doesn't really need to be turned in until January 7, so I'm going to try and start it next week and finish it when I'm in Assland, IL for Christmas. I actually met with Lilla yesterday to finish up our conversation about the book. I had written a new question statement for him that he said was "excellent," which was a bit shocking. I'm starting to get my thoughts about my study in order, which is surprising and good.
Tickets are still only about $200 to go visit you in Boston, and I'm planning on buying one tomorrow when I get paid.
It is SO FUCKING COLD IN THIS OFFICE RIGHT NOW.
I'd heard about her from Bradford. She got rave reviews from the Sprite. And I gotta tell you, they're right. Kia is badass. She writes on her page, "Fuck you and I hope you die.
Nicholas, don't come to my fucking site anymore. You are garbage. You are full of shit and a liar. You don't give a fuck about anyone else and you are so quick to assume that everyone is out to get you. I put myself out there for you and you shit on me. So fuck you and if you really don't want any contact with me, stay the fuck away from my website." And she's got "Toxic" by Ms. B in her playlist.
Two things about this story: Who would EVER want to go out on a date with Dennis Kucinich? Ever? And, furthermore, in my day we had a name for people who were bachelors for that long. GAY!
Thursday, December 04, 2003 Sketch of a Video for "Toxic," a Song on Ms. Britney Spears' New Album In the Zone
A song that I like to call "Secret Agent Britney."
Opening shot. A dimly lit warehouse. Britney stands in front of a young man who sits on a chair. Her dancers gaze on, behind her, breathing heavily from some truly intense dance moves. She leans in toward's the guy's face and the camera turns for a profile view of this action. He MAY look like Justin. But we never see his face. Ever.
Cut. Music starts.
Ms. B. and her dancers are flying on a plane. Everything is all luxury, much like an old-fashioned high class plane flight one might see in movies from the 1960s. The plane is full of people who are all very posh and bling-bling. Camera moves in to focus on Ms. B, who is sitting and laughing with her dance troupe. Her face suddenly clouds over and the camera follows her gaze to see the back of a man who has taken off running through the plane. Ms. B and her dancers give chase. When the man, who we see from the back, reaches the front of the plane, he grabs a parachute, busts open the door, and jumps out.
Britney and her posse pursue, each in parachutes. They land on the deck of a cruise ship.
Britney and co. run frantically through the cruise ship in search of their man. She finally catches up to him and the chase continues with renewed frenzy. The camera follows them back to the deck, where mystery man jumps into a life-ski-doo (much like a lifeboat, but a ski-doo instead) and plunges into the harbor. Britney follows.
As Britney chases her guy through the harbor, we cut back and forth between the chase and a dance break on the deck of the cruise ship. Eventually her guy reaches a dock and takes off on foot. He jacks a car from an unsuspecting, yuppie-like older person and zooms away. Britney pursues him, helmetless, on a motorcyle.
Cut to dance break in the poorly-lit warehouse.
Mystery man crashes his car in the middle of a busy intersection. Britney dismounts her bike to find her dance troupe waiting, and they all set off in pursuit of him. Camera, at shaky angles, focuses on their feet as they run. Eventually, they trap him in the same warehouse we see at the beginning of the video. Then, as guy watches, camera behind him records...
A dance break.
At the end of the dance break, we watch Britney, from behind, tie the man down onto a waiting chair. Her dancers shake their booties furiously as she leans over him (much like the beginning of the video) and sensually kisses him.
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
I received an email from Molly earlier today, chiding me for not having updated since last week. And I must apologize - but at least I'm not as bad as Aaron, who didn't update for a month. And I'm going to claim the same excuse that he does, which is that it's about the end of the quarter and I'll be really busy. Now, granted, I'm procrastinating like crazy. Last night I reached a new low when I watched about 15 minutes of 7th Heaven before heading up to Showtunes.
I've got a three-hour interview to transcribe, a 5-8 page paper about that interview to write, a paper for my Augustine class, and a paper on The Stranger to write. Good thing about the last one, though: I can pretty much turn it in to Lilla whenever. So yeah.
I had a most relaxing and unproductive (schoolwise) weekend. Wednesday I went shopping for my Thanksgiving contribution - my mom's stuffing. Her stuffing requires that you stale two loaves of bread, so I put the bread on plates and cutting boards around the kitchen and dining room in the apartment and proceeded to smell up the place. Thursday morning I showered and did my hair and everything and then started to assemble the stuffing. I cut my right index finger on the BACK (yes, the back) of the knife as I was chopping the onion and celery. I cubed the bread, scrambled up the eggs, and then realized that I didn't have a mixing bowl or pot large enough to hold all the bread to mix it with the spices and the eggs. Instead of freaking out, I started to sautee the onion and celery in butter. Then I went back to face the stale bread and proceeded to freak out again (same problem). The only solution, then, was to light a cigarette - which is what I did. Blondie played in the background and I, standing there, in my pajamas with my hair styled, proceeded to smoke while sauteeing. The stuffing, needless to say, turned out really great, and the dinner was fun. I got to meet Mark's boyfriend, Michael, and he had a whole bunch of friends in from out of town. They were all friends from Syracuse, so it was a little weird for Christopher and I to talk with all of them. But they were pretty fun, and also seemed to be completely shocked by Christopher's, Mark's, and my over-the-top-ness. It was almost as if they'd never met gay people before.
On Friday I drove my roommate Aaron to the airport to say good-bye to him. He's going to do field research for his dissertation in the poorest town of the poorest region of Brazil (thank God for urban life!). I cried when I pulled away from the airport! Then, because I was lonely, I went over to Chris's apartment and we drank champagne mimosas with strawberry ice cream in them and watched Queer as Folk. Too much. Then, after I sobered up, Christopher and I went to see Elizabeth's show at the Cultural Center, which was pretty bad, but Elizabeth was good in it. Strangely enough: Michael's roommate was the stage manager, so we saw everyone we'd had Thanksgiving dinner with for the second night in a row. Then we got pizza, then Christopher and I went and got a drink.
Saturday I had my interview with my alum for Chauncey's class. Andrew Patner, bless you. We talked for three hours. My favorite story, I think, was an anecdote he told about a former classmate of his from Mississippi who used to walk around campus, no matter what season, no matter what the weather was like, with a large umbrella tucked in the crook of his arm. That level of fabulousness=my goal. Sadly, this man later died of AIDS during the 1980s. Then I tried to do some reading at home, which actually meant I watched TV. Chris and Christopher and I decided to go up to Logan Square to get Argentinian food.
Sunday I stayed in the apartment all day long, cleaned, talked to my mother for two hours, cleaned, read a little, and watched TV. It was kind of great to be so lazy.
Yesterday it was back in the saddle. I found out that I didn't get the job at the MCA, which is sort of good and sort of bad. Sort of bad because it would be a great job and would provide me with a stable income and would solve a lot of my financial issues of the moment (the largest being, 'dude, you have no money'). Good because it means that I'll actually have a real senior year of college. And what would college be like if I didn't have to scrimp and save ('dove exfoliating liquid soap or bananas for breakfast? Both!') or if life weren't kind of like a Russian novel? I woke up early, did some shopping, put gas in Heidi's car, cranked up the Britney and drove to the parking structure to put the car away at least until winter break. Then I went to UT for work, then I went to the gym (intense, good workout. I'm still sore). Then to Admissions, then home, then to Showtunes. Christopher and I swore that we were going to leave early. Some cute guy commented on my hair and then said nothing else. I had four drinks. We didn't leave early. Then, figuring we were going to miss the southbound #6, we decided to get pizza. And, of course, Silence of the Lambs was on TV at the Pie Hole, so we had to watch it until the end (As Mark walked away from us he tottered, screaming into the night, "Dr. Lecter? Dr. Lecter?!?!?!"). So Christopher and I took the Red Line to downtown, I said "fuck it" to rent, we went to the Bank One building (my favorite in all of Chicago, I think) and got money for a cab.
I arrived home at 2:45 AM.
Today was my last day of classes for the quarter. The last Fall Quarter. Hmmm.