Monday, June 29, 2009

Sour Pride

I waited until after the weekend to talk about this here, even though I did mention it over on Facebook.

Have we come a long way since that mythic night in 1969, when the Queens fought back against a routine Vice-Squad raid of a Mafia-run gay bar on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village? Yes. Undoubtedly.

Background check of my bona fides:

I'd turned 21 the week before. I was in the Navy and had just reported for duty after a year of boot camp and electronics schools, to the Naval Air Test Center in Maryland. It was weeks before even a hint of the events in New York managed to filter down to where I was. And where I was was alone and lonely inside my own skin, absolutely convinced that I was doomed to a lifetime of secrecy about who, and what, I really was. I remember being thrilled to hear that there had been a "queer uprising" of some sort in New York City. It gave me a teensy bit of hope that maybe the future might be okay for me, after all.

Long story short, I got out of the service and came flying out of the closet, got very involved in gay lib on a grassroots level at the University of Delaware, got burnt by same, swore off gay lib and gay politics -- moved to Seattle -- moved to New York, attended a few early Pride Parades and most importantly... I saw where it was all going.

It was all going to a party.

The early parades were rag-tag events, scheduled mostly by word of mouth in those pre-internet, pre-email days. Mouth and pamphlets and underground newspapers.

They didn't need no stinkin' permits to march. Everybody just "showed up" on Central Park West and started organizing themselves behind banners. There were no "floats" or flatbed trucks full of scantily-clad party boyz and blaring disco music, tossing Mardi Gras beads to the gawkers along Fifth.

The cops didn't interfere because, to be honest, there were about a quarter of a million of us and about 10,000 of them.

But then, and rather quickly, the marches got sold out. To corporate interests and the aforementioned flat-bed trucks loaded with Party-Boyz.

And Pride stopped being political.

Look, I like a party as much as anyone else. But there is a time and a place for it. And Pride Parades are NOT it. NOT yet. When we have achieved our political goals of full, unbridled, equality before the law ... then, and only then ... can we "reward" ourselves with a parade with floats sponsored by Bud Lite and American Express.

Until then, there is work to be done. Political work. Hard work. In your fucking-face work.

Our lives are at stake here. And a once-a-year, blow off some steam, Disco-on-Fifth, is not a fit way to demonstrate against discrimination and in favor of civil rights for LGBT peoples from coast to coast. All it is is just a fucking bone thrown to us by an establishment with a vested interest in keeping us "uppity faggots" in our place.

A minor annoyance to the majority and a battered-wife reliable cashcow to the Democratic Party.

And if that don't piss you off, then just what will it take?


I seem to have struck a nerve with a few people with my post, both above and over on Facebook. My friend Robin posted something remarkably similar on her website. You can jump directly to her post, here. I've also added her to my list of Daily Reads under "Here's What I Don't Get." Check it out. Eclectic, feminist and po'd at the status quo. Like me!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The.Best.American.Musical.Play... EVER!

I'm a big, ol' musical queen. And I've seen a ton of big, ol' musicals over the years. I was even IN a few of them, in college and community theaters, along the way. I'd always thought I'd seen 'em all, and knew 'em all.

Well, I'm here to tell ya, I didn't know jack-shit.

I saw "South Pacific" at Lincoln Center on Tuesday night, and I'm here to tell you, it is the best American musical play, ever.

It beautifully captures the mood of a robust, vigorous nation at war, a country flexing both it's impressive muscles and it's small-town naivete. Yes, it also has bald-faced capitalism (Billis), bald-faced racism (Lt. Cable and Nellie Forbush), worldy sophistication (de Beque) and altruistic heroism (Cable and de Beque).

This show is loaded. Mostly with America, warts and all, with a smattering of ex-patriate France, just the way we all were in the 40's.

The overture starts, as many B'way overtures do these days, small and tinny, sounding more like it's being played on a synthesizer across the street at Juilliard, until... the music builds and builds to the crescendo in the midst of the "Bali Hai" section when, suddenly, like a giant wave pulling back from the shore, the entire stage floor swiftly retracts upstage to reveal an entire Broadway orchestra, the way B'way orchestras used to be ... BIG. 25 or 30 seats, at least. Only then did I really appreciate the lushness of the Robert Russell Bennett orchestrations and the true value of Rogers' brilliant score.

I'm sorry for waxing ecstatic over it, but I was just blown away by it. The cast is great, not a miscue among them. The sets and costumes are perfect and not overdone.

If you see nothing else on Broadway, this year, or ever, by all means go see "South Pacific" at Lincoln Center.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Contuining in a Musical Vein

Because it's my birthday week I'm not going to let anything detract from my enjoyment of it -- including the shenanigans of all those d-bags in D.C. who are now busy sucking up to a few rich queers in the hopes that the rest of us will fall into line, like good little lgbt boys/girls/others, and back the fuck off and shut the fuck up and kill ourselves, like in the good old days.

And right about now my attitude is that they can all go fuck themselves, the lying sacks of self-serving shit.

On a lighter note, I'm going to see "South Pacific" at Lincoln Center tonight. Here is a clip of Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza singing "Some Enchanted Evening" which is one of my earliest recollections of b&w television. This is from the days when these broadcasts of scenes from Broadway shows and operas were considered so culturally important that they were simulcast on all of the television networks, and paid for by one sponsor, to an estimated audience of over 80,000,000.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I Feel Love....

Today, June 22nd, is my belly-button birthday. I was born in the decade in which we fought and won WWII. I'm a boomer. I am not aging gracefully. My motto remains, "It's never too late to have a happy childhood."

But if anything, I am a child of the 70's. The disco era. I came out of the closet when I came out of the Navy. And I immediately started hitting places in Philadelphia with names like Oz, Allegro and The Steps, and places in New York like Barefoot Boy and Uncle Charley's.

This was pre-Studio 54.

Then I moved to Seattle. And in those days (by now it was 1976) if you wanted to dance in Seattle you either went to Shelley's Leg or the Boren Street Disco.

I went to both. I made a lot of dance friends. We had a great time. We loved Grace Jones and Sylvester and ABBA. But the Queen of Disco was her Majesty, Donna Sommers.

And for our money, this was the song that defined her and defined the era.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Abusive Relationships

Not that any rich queers read me, but if they did or, if you think that you're rich enough to qualify, I would like to ask any of you who donate to the DNC (Democratic National Committee) to:

1. Immediately cease making donations to the DNC.

2. Cultivate local gay and gay friendly politicians by donating heavily to them, instead.

It is CLEAR to all but the blind that the DNC regards the LGBT communities as nothing more than minor annoyances with major bank accounts.

The DNC has absolutely no intention of giving us what it is that we seek, full and equal rights under the law. Not now. Not then. Not ever. And why should they?

If we got what we wanted, we would have no further use for them and would, possibly, stop donating to them anyway. It is in the best interests of the Democatric National Committee to insure that we remain disgruntled enough to think that we have no choice but to back them, no matter how badly they treat us.

In psychobabble this is called "an abusive relationship." We, my friends, are in an abusive relationship with the Democratic Party. Oh, sure, we get beat up in the back alley by the Republican thugs, but our good friends the Democrats are all over us inside the bars, like a cheap NY hustler, smooching up to us and telling us that they can't live without us, until we get them home with us for an evening of raw, hot sex. THEN they get viscious, beat the crap out of us, take our wallets and leave us for dead.

And, fools that we are, a week later we're out there once again, looking for them in all the bars all over town ... thinking to ourselves that maybe "this time it will be different."

Yeah. Well, take it from an alcoholic who thought that every time he drank it would be different ... it's never different. Until we fight back.

I know abusive relationships. I've had 'em. With guys. With booze. With politicians.

What really works with an abuser is to knock the cocksucker flat on his ass.

It's time for the LGBT communities to knock the DNC flat on its ass.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I used to like this guy....

I'm doing more and more posting over on FaceBook these days ... and less and less here.

But I did want to pass along my growing annoyance and discontent with the current administration. Watch this:

Last week, the Department of Justice argued before the Supreme Court IN FAVOR of keeping DOMA ... and in its brief, used the old incest/child-molestation stereotype.

It is clear that this administration has gone from gay friendly to gay hostile... on the assumption that we will always be there for them, like a lover in an abusive relationship.

And trust me, I know exactly what it's like to be in an abusive relationship. I was in one for 15 years, until I got sober.

Maybe it's time for the LGBT communities to get sober and to wake up to the fact that politicians do NOTHING without either a) being bought or b) being publicly humiliated.

I am planning on showing up for the March on Washington in October. I urge every other LGBT person to do the same.

Marches didn't necessarily end the war in Viet Nam ... but they sure made the evening news -- night after night after night.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Tonys - It Don't Get Any Gayer Than This!

For those of you missed Neil Patrick Harris' big closing number at the Tony's last night...

Well, like he says... it don't get any gayer.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009