If you haven't picked up my update of Encyclopedia Madonnica 20 (which is, technically, EM21!), please...
258 posts categorized "ME"
Officer Jesus Retana, seriously injured in the Dallas sniper attack, has long recovery ahead, 30% pay cut.
Khizr Khan—whose DNC speech required no notes or Teleprompter!—calls on GOP to repudiate Trump.
The men get totally nude on dating show Naked Attraction. (Work Unfriendly)
Out lesbian S-s-s-s-samantha FOX! joins the U.K.'s Celebrity Big Brother. My history with as Sam:
American Family Association is ever so pissed off by this Hilton ad, showing two men in bed:
My day at the NYC Pride March was a beautiful reminder of my experience in life and of the fact that I'm always having new experiences in life ... and proof that my little body's slowing breaking down. Oh, my aching gay back!
I was tapped to follow the stripper-drenched Adonis Lounge float, photographing the guys and the gays' reactions to them as we tooled through Manhattan, but was told the night before—at a nude party, which are great fun when only the strippers and not the patrons provide the nudity—that I wouldn't be meeting then until 3 p.m. That blew my mind, as anyone marching in the parade usually meets up in the morning. This year, organizers seemed to get more realistic about when groups should assemble on the side streets in the 30s and 40s along Fifth Avenue to cut down on congestion and fatigue, but there was no way I wanted to miss the parade itself just because I was going to be in it, toward the end. [Pictured: Me with Angel (Image by Angel Jimez), me with Edward (Image courtesy of Edward Thomas)]
So, I woke up early, fed myself, pulled on my beloved Mildred Fierce T-shirt and hauled camera over to W. 41st St., which I picked
because I read that was where a group featuring teen trans star Jazz Jennings would be meeting up and thought she'd be fun to shoot again. I never found her, but did find my pal Edward Thomas and his sister.
It was a great block on which to hang out, filled with plenty of beauties, interesting faces and spirited coppers—I was mixing it up with the Gay Officers Action League, where I met a lesbian couple in love with Varla Jean Merman (my shirt provided the conversation-starter), was handed my first NO when asking to take someone's picture (an all-but-naked man in a leather jockstrap, who apparently wasn't seeking attention) and fell in love several times.
I don't have official press I.D., which isn't technically needed to cover a public event, but I'm always worried I'll be stopped when walking from float to float. Once our group poured onto Fifth, there was no turning back and I was able to march forward pretty far, to within a few groups of the very beginning of the parade (I had fun with the Hillary marchers, unaware that had I just stuck with them a few more blocks, I would've encountered the woman herself—oh, well, I did get Chelsea last year).
Once I'd gotten way down from the 40s to the teens, I simply turned around and began slowly moving back against the tide in order to see as many marchers as possible.
It was a beautiful march—colorful, exuberant, and sunny—but it surprised me that it didn't feel as pregnant with purpose as I'd expected in the wake of the Orlando mass shooting. To be sure, there were countless expressions of solidarity and sorrow over the event, most prominently in the inclusion of Pulse owner Barbara Poma and the many WE ARE ORLANDO signs, but the parade didn't have a different vibe—it was just much, much longer. Maybe that was the Pulse effect, a rush to be a part of the bigger picture, even if more than a few moms back home were wishing their LGBT kids were not going to be quite so LGBT, quite so out in the open; I guess a lot more people wanted to send the message that they were deeply affected by Orlando, but wouldn't let that stop them from being themselves in public.
The other thing I noticed more so than ever, and that drives at least some people away from the otherwise energizing event, is the relentless corporatization of it. I have argued before, and it is still my belief, that big business marketing to us is not demonic, and that if we live in a capitalist society and are the target of marketers, that is a sign of respect for our importance, our power. Also, it's psychologically vastly important that everyday brands go out of their way to support the LGBT cause openly—even if I'm not sure whether Kiehl's is a top or a bottom (probably bottom), or in what stage of transitioning Facebook may be.
I appreciate that the captains of industry understand that LGBT people are there customers and are not afraid to have our back on our biggest day of the year. Frankly, we'd have to buy from them anyway.
That said, it's more and more of a killjoy to see so many marchers who were casted to walk attractively alongside and while wearing a logo. This fatiguing omnipresence of big business first hit me when I heard a team leader giving what sounded like shareholders speech before his company group's step-off, was compounded by running into a young friend who was being paid to participate (would he have even gone otherwise?) and was hammered home when, at the end of the draining day I was handed three rainbow bracelets—and upon closer inspection, discovered they advertised Wyndham Rewards. Womp-womp.
It's not moving, this businessy side of the parade, but on the other hand, I suppose it's the biggest pie in the face of every Anita Bryant ever that Walmart's with us, and that MasterCard is telling the world #AcceptanceMatters. Because it does, but who knew MasterCard would one day care?
I think what would help me get over the $$$ aspect is if the march could somehow encourage much smaller groups to have floats (at a discounted rate?) that were being judged for creativity and messaging. That way, I think people would be less inundated with pitches (including political ones) and the parade itself would only be more fun.
In the past, I've also read a lot about people thinking the parade is too sexy, too about perfect bodies. I really don't get that at all. I hunted for those sexy bodies, and while there were plenty on display, it sure didn't feel excessive. I recall other parades in decades past that felt far more decadent. (I later wound up on the dirtiest float in the entire procession, and it suck out like a sore thumb-job.) I also just unfriended a very intelligent but ridiculously politicized writer whose posts obsess over racism and sexism and homophobic in ways that are more self-parody than self-help. The straw that broke the homo's back was his declaration that he “hates” Gay Pride, partly due to a wrenching experience he had once (which I get) but mainly due to his feeling that all the lovely bodies are shaming him and telling him he isn't good enough.
I fully understand that twinge one can get when one sees a gaggle of ostentatiously sexy, mind-bogglingly muscled gay dudes in Speedos acting like they were born that way, and there are definitely a lot of boys who, like too many girls have always done in order to seem less threatening to men, fake air-headedness and flash skin until it becomes who they are. But they are not the ones telling you you're not good enough by having great beauty, you're the one telling yourself that. Get over it, enjoy their beauty and—you know what?—enjoy what you've got, too. We are all born and we all die and any one of us can get shot in a club or get cancer or get gay-bashed or anything else you can imagine, so celebrating our fleeting sexiness should be an act of pleasure and defiance, not something to make us binge-eat a bag of doughnuts and declare our hatred for gay pride.
All that said, I did have a blast playing photojournalist (surprising that I had about a half dozen people I asked for posed pictures decline), taking portraits, candids and landscapes of the gigantic, throbbing event from noon to 3. Ultimately, there is nothing else quite like a big-city LGBT parade, even if someone, somewhere is making a little cash off of it.
By 3, I had made my way back to where the floats were waiting to make their way down Fifth, and found the Adonis Lounge's station. I spent several hours there—we didn't step off until something like 6!—and then spent another few slowly, ever so slowly, marching the entire route. But that's for another post.
Enjoy some of my favorite photos, SHARE on social media and feel free to chime in if you see anyone you know ...
Uncharacteristically, I haven't written about my recent quick trip to L.A. to promote the book I wrote with Alaska Thunderf*ck (or Thunderfun, as she is called for the sake of marketing the book to people still living at home). For some reason, I kept putting other stuff in front of writing this up, maybe because it wound up being an unexpectedly warm-and-fuzzy (if frantic and fleeting) event.
I went out two weekends ago—business class. I've never been in business class, so far as I remember, and found it ultra-comfortable and immediately took it on as my new normal, so that when I fly coach next time it will feel like being evicted from a gated community.
I'd planned to work from the plane, but the WiFi was out, meaning I did nothing but sleep. I wasn't sure what I was doing as far as promo for the book—Alaska Thunderfun and the Inner Space Odyssey—so being well-rested was a step (in a high-heeled shoe) in the right direction.
Working with Alaska had been a breeze. She has an insanely fun creation story that involves intergalactic gender-bending and the early '80s, and she knew pretty much what she wanted me to do, so I simply did it and she offered her input where needed and it was finished. I think it wound up being pretty funny and hopefully will surprise people with its mission of gender fluidity. I think of it as a Choose Your Own Gender book, or like Goosebumps with lovely lady lumps.
I stayed in Little Tokyo, which meant I was sick of Japanese food—which I love!—within two meals, but since I was working all day from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m., that really only left me time to eat at offbeat times and squeeze in a couple of meetings with friends I hadn't seen in forever and, of course, to explore my popularity as a new face on the locals' Grindr feeds.
Again, I must thank the parents who continue to raise their young men to have no morals at all.
The event itself was a lot of fun, once I had a solid handle on what was expected. It was celebrating the opening of the first all-drag retail store at Arts District Co-Op (453 Colyton St., L.A.), where the merch of such drag luminaries as Jinkx Monsoon, Adore Delano, Sharon Needles and—of course—Alaska would be on sale. The space was chic, beautifully designed and 100% conducive to lots of impulse-buying. I was eyeing some Violet Chachki wear, and I'm not even a big fan!
I love what this young man did—he created portraits of his more than 400 fellow graduating classmates and surprised them by hanging them in the school for graduation:
I remember being similarly preoccupied by this sort of pursuit when I was a kid. In elementary school, pre-yearbooks, I would often get my classmates to sign their names in rows on lined paper so I had an extra record of them. It ended when some brats in third grade wrote disparaging remarks alongside their autographs.
When I was graduating high school, I went around and had as many of my classmates as I could do self-portraits, which I still have. I posted them in 2009, with some enhancements.
Okay, my results were more on the whimsical (and occasionally disturbing) side, but they were illuminating nonetheless!
I am also on Twitter:
... and Instagram ...
If you're really nasty, you might like my (Work Unfriendly) Tumblr. But only if you're really, really nasty:
DR Madonna is back with a video that intends to encapsulate all the craziness behind being an obsessed Madonna fan.
I, therefore, am of course in it. I shot this so long ago David Bowie and Prince were still alive and I still owned that chain necklace from her first album shoot!
Keep reading to watch ...