My pal Piotr has launched a Facebook page in honor of the 20th anniversary of Madonna's Sex book, which more than any other thing she's done creatively is a work that separates one part of her career from another. Was it good for you? Or was it like when the trick of your dreams shows up looking nothing like his picture? Or maybe it was both from page to page? Regardless, Sex changed how people perceived Madonna.
Monday was Blondie night, a gig at the Highline Ballroom in Chelsea. I was going it alone, but instead met up with Kenneth and walked over from the subway. He was in a tie and I was in long pants ("dressed up" for both of us) and we were meeting early because we hoped to get seats. Yes, seats! While the middle of the floor was G.A., there were also a number of tables for those of us who felt like taking a load off...provided we also didn't mind springing for some $30 salmon. (The place had an unenforced $10 minimum PER SET, so we in theory would have had to buy $10 or more during the opener and another $10 or more during Blondie.)
We got a great seat with a nice view of the stage, sitting side by side, only to become embroiled in a controversy when the couple at the table next to ours tried the same thing. No dice! The waitress informed them they could not sit side by side; one of them had to move to face the other person, back to the stage. Why? Policy. They need to fill each seat. It was absurd. The manager came over and forced them to move, whereupon the female half of the couple cattily pointed us out and asked why we didn't have to move. Fuck you, toots—we, without realizing we were helping our case, had told the waitress about the absent third member of our party, who in theory would be arriving any moment to sit with his back to the stage. Frantic e-mails brought Kenneth's partner Michael along in due time, averting a tragedy. (Kenneth cutely though that I might consider leaving my stage-side seat to become the one facing away from Blondie if push came to shove!)
How old are you...66???
The show was pretty great, though felt shorter than usual and Debbie definitely was not as "on" vocally or energy-wise in the beginning. She's sticking with that Emmylou Harris happy hair, but I did for the first time also connect it to Andy Warhol's shock of white wig.
A heart of glass that was hanging over the stage
The 90-minute gig opened with the Eat to the Beat trifecta of "Union City Blue," "Dreaming" and "Atomic," moved into new material with "D-Day," gifted us with classic "Call Me" and neo-classic "Maria," and then settled into a meaty portion of the band's current studio set, Panic of Girls. The new stuff—"Girlie Girlie," "What I Heard," "China Shoes," "Wipe Off My Sweat" and "Mother"—is uneven, but very listenable and with a couple of true stand-outs. By the time the newer songs rolled around, the recently slimmer Debbie was on fire and dancing up a storm and truly having fun. At one point, she joked how New York was not like (their last tour stop in) Michigan. "They have Detroit...gotta give 'em that!"
Other highlights included a genius mash-up of "Rapture" and the Beastie Boys stomper "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)." Other covers that scored were the Johnny Thunders tune "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory" (dedicated, implicitly, to 9/11 remembrance) and the Ramones chestnut "I Don't Wanna Go to the Basement."
"One Way or Another" was a frenetic room-charger, but it was their "Heart of Glass" finale that probably did the most toward making the room "get up!"
***PLEASE CLUE ME IN ON NAMES OF ANY UNIDENTIFIED DANCERS***
Last night was the twenty-first annual edition of Broadway Bares and the fourth one in a row I've attended. Broadway Bares XXI: Masterpiece! snuck up on me; as I was watching it, I was thinking it wasn't my favorite. However, looking back at pictures and videos, it's obvious that there were some stunning numbers in spite of some pretty cringe-worthy humor interludes. In fact, the full-length musicals in which the night's dancers are currently performing should take notes.
The David? How about The Brandon! (Rubendall)
We arrived at Roseland to get in line around 9:30PM, so would have our pick of spots once the show let us in two hours later. Jason and I ran into a bunch of his friends, including Clark Kent, "Hey, Jude," and someone who once dated with Truth Wins Out good-fighter Wayne Besen (I guess his ex-, just not an ex-gay). There was a Bares virgin among us (sounds like a Treasure Media title), but the rest of us knew what to expect inside—skin, bawdy humor and opportunities to slip green into pink and/or brown. (Sidebar: Not just saying that—this year's Bares felt remarkably more racially diverse than past installments.)
Let's just look at Rotation here instead of at the end
Just past 11:30PM and after the 9:30PM show's patrons had spilled into the streets looking keyed up and, well, drunk, we filed in and beelined to the far side of the middle runway. I was pleased to be right at the stage, yet I'd later realize my "less good" position in previous years had actually been more desirable—I was so close it was tougher to take pictures and, at times, see thanks to the very sweet but confoundingly non-transparent guy in front of me. Making conversation as a go-go boy doled out ones in exchange for twenties, he asked me if I liked that the dancer was wearing a cock ring.
The sea of horny homos looked like Grindr come to life; I didn't check it inside, but I imagine the first 50 guys on my screen would have been 0 feet away.
Keegan Albrecht paints "Come back to Broadway Bares, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean"
The place was teeming with celebrities along with testosterone, including Wilson Cruz (in my group yet too far for me to chat with), John Benjamin Hickey, Nick Adams, BearCity's Joe Conti, entertainer nonpareil Scott Nevins, Jack Plotnick, Jonathan D. Lovitz and probably more.
While waiting for things to begin, we were treated to watching a cute artiste (Keegan Albrecht) painting an image of James Dean, but it was just as fun watching the pre-show T-shirt vendors attempting to steal the dancers' thunder by baring their buns for a determinedly devoted crew at the end of the middle runway.
Went to the 8:35 p.m. screening of the film Blank City at the IFC last night and was treated to a Q&A after with its impossibly young director, Céline Danhier, as well as two of its prominently featured personalities, the artists Maripol and Michael Holman—see above.
As of midnight tonight, it will be exactly five years since my first post. It's hard to imagine it's been that long, and a lot's changed—the tone and subject matter are different, how often I post, my limits (no nudity in a couple of years due to ad constraints). I've devoted a crazy amount of time and money and energy to this blog for a very small financial return (you couldn't guess low enough), but it's always rewarding to have this forum with which to express myself, keep my writing ability fluid, perhaps influence a couple of people here and there, share obsessions with strangers (in both senses of the word) and learn new things.
Take That's Howard...can you believe this happened onstage at a pop concert?
Here are some of the posts that were most important to Boy Culture's history. For the uninitiated, some of the oldest ones refer to Boy Culture, the movie made of my novel; I started the blog at the time Boy Culture was being filmed as a way to keep people informed of the progress...and it all snowballed from there.
Some of these posts are milestones when it comes to the hits they provided but most are filled with original writing and/or photography and video and are just the posts of which I'm proudest. I hope you'll take some time to click on them and send their links around to others—and some time is what you'll need...
FROM BOY TO MAN: BC B.C. (2007): The entire history of my novella, novel and movie Boy Culture; might be my ultimate post.
From '07, one of my faves. Old iPhones were better because they were worse.
"Your pictures suck" (2008): An art critic attacks me, but not without sustaining some hits in return.
GUYDAR (since at least January 17, 2008) & ENDS OF THE WORLD (since at least January 13, 2008): Attractive men of the world—I got your backs. Your fronts, too.
TriBeCa is for Boy lovers...
BOY ON FILM (2006): An account of the NYC launch party for Boy Culture as it played the TriBeCa Film Fest.