Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, a frequent friendly critic of the Obama Administration, has written a piece in which he posits that President Obama is “a very consequently president indeed.”
Krugman writes of the president's liberal critics:
“I’ve found myself in conversations with liberals who shake their heads sadly and express their disappointment with President Obama. Why? I suspect that they’re being influenced, often without realizing it, by the prevailing media narrative.
“The truth is that these days much of the commentary you see on the Obama administration—and a lot of the reporting too—emphasizes the negative: the contrast between the extravagant hopes of 2008 and the prosaic realities of political trench warfare, the troubles at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the mess in Iraq, and so on...You should judge leaders by their achievements, not their press, and in terms of policy substance Mr. Obama is having a seriously good year. In fact, there’s a very good chance that 2014 will go down in the record books as one of those years when America took a major turn in the right direction.”
It's a great, sensible piece, and one progressives need to accept: We won, and it worked. Enjoy it.
As regular Boy Culture readers know, I met and posed for a picture with Madonna in the spring. Last night, I met and posed for a picture with Barack Obama.
First the queen, now the president.
That's the ticket
I came to L.A. this week for one of those notorious autograph shows I write phonebook-length posts about, but I also came to see Madonna (on Wednesday) and, most importantly of all, I came for the big Obama/Biden fundraiser at the Nokia in Downtown L.A. The event wasn't cheap, but I felt compelled—as I had in '08—to give till it hurt. And it did and does hurt, especially since I lost my job recently (under a Democratic president, but under a Republican boss—ha) and am in no position to be spending as freely as I have been.
But no matter what happens in a month—and I feel pretty strongly that the president will retain his job—I wanted to give as much as possible since I don't see myself knocking on doors or phonebanking. If Mitt Romney gets in, we'll have four years of anti-equality, business-first/people-last, misogynistic, right-wing policies to endure, not to mention a slate of Supreme Court justices unworthy of being called "supreme" and with a far different concept of justice than the ones President Obama has selected.
Once I made my mind up, and once I realized I would be able to meet the president and get a photo with him, I clammed up. I didn't even tell my partner because I worried something would go wrong, I would find out it was a photo op with a roomful of people or the president would cancel to spend two weeks attending Debating 101.
None of those things happened, so after spending a lovely afternoon with mystery photographer Venfield 8 (who shot me, but not in the raw), I put on my new J. Crew suit, shirt and tie and hopped into a car to arrive at the Nokia around 2:45, an hour before show time.
The crowd was bubbling with excitement at the prospect of sharing air with not only the U.S. president, but with this U.S. president. Reporters were trying to ask people if they were disappointed with the president's debating skills when they should have been asking if we were elated by the latest jobs numbers or by the fact that Big Bird is now the Democratic Joe the Plumber or by the fact that polls are beginning to show that Romney's Lie-apalooza was losing its luster.
My ticket and wristband—surprisingly, just a simple, store-bought, yellow wristband—were at will call, where I don't think it was my imagination that all the workers were extra-smiley.
Inside, I gave my name and was allowed downstairs to the VIP lounge, where we were offered a feast that I went nowhere near—I've been avoiding bread, pasta, rice and (until the day before yesterday) anything sweet for a week in hopes that I'd be able to squeeze into my suit, and had just had lunch with Venfield...no need to look bloated with the prez.
We the people
There was an interesting mix of people in the VIP lounge—hot gay gazelles in skintight suits, old power brokers of both genders, young campaign workers in casual wear, Gloria Allred.
I snagged Ms. Allred for a pic-with after some excited young girls did the same thing. Love her or hate her, I have to tell you she was beyond gracious and asked me to let her know if there was anything she could do for me. (The woman can smell media a mile off.)
Around 3:30, I made my way upstairs and was taken to my fabulous seat, ORCH E 107. I wasn't far from the stage; it reminded me of the time I attended The MTV Video Music Awards from Radio City and could basically see Christina Aguilera's tonsils and Justin Timberlake's hemhorroids.
Out of the blue, a friend contacted José and I to ask that we join the group marching with Cyndi Lauper in the NYC Gay Pride March yesterday. Lauper was plugging her new charity, The Forty to None Project, dedicated to stamping out homelessness among LGBT youth (or, as the site forebodingly promises, "helping to bring an end to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth experiencing homelessness"). Look, one way or another, we gotta get these kids offa the street! And what an honor and a treat it was to be able to march alongside such a tireless advocate for gay causes, not to mention one of my very first musical idols.
It's important to care for your slave properly—sunscreen is a must!
My pals Angel & Gerard are about to make it legal
Imagine a relationship older than Stonewall
Kiehl's was keepin' it real (Chris Salgardo, CEO of "Kiehl's Since 1851", was a marshal)
Sidenote: Before Madonna for me, there was Cyndi. (Even before Debbie Harry, who I didn't get into until Rockbird.) I was absolutely floored by She's So Unusual, which I still think is one of the most perfect pop records ever. It propelled me into a music store to buy my first-ever poster (which, if you've been reading me a while, you'll recognize was the start of something big), a fabulous, punky shot of Cyndi that was, unfortunately, a little crushed. Nonetheless, it became the very first poster on my wall in a room that would be covered (including the ceiling) by the time I left home.
In 1995, Cyndi was the first person I ever interviewed. I was working as a news assistant at Reuters and pitched a Q&A with Cyndi to my bosses. They went for it, she went for it (she was plugging Twelve Deadly Cyns), and so I found myself spending probably 45 minutes chatting with her in an office. I remember she kept looking at my pages of questions, probably wondering if they'd ever end, yet she answered everything at length and gamely posed for some pictures with me after signing quite a few odds and ends I'd brought with me. (I didn't care if it wasn't professional—I hated that job otherwise!) I'd even brought my "Hole in My Heart (All the Way to China)" picture sleeve, at which she'd exclaimed, "Oh, that! Well...that one I liked, though." (It was "Goonies" that she kinda hated.)
Flashing forward again: José was traveling in Puerto Rico, so I arrived to the March with my Madonna Cyndi husband Jason around 11AM at 41st between Fifth and Madison. It was hot but not unbearably so, sunny and breezy, and as always, as goofy as Pride might seem before you're in the midst of it, there was an infectiously optimistic vibe of unity radiating from the diverse crowds milling around their meeting spots. We were all about to march in a parade whose roots go back to that history-changing night at the Stonewall and nobody's feet were going to be dragging.
Once we found our area, I wound up wandering a bit and snapping atmosphere shots as well as, of course, photos of sexy menz—I always have pervert pride, though I wound up asking quite a few of them, which was a new concept. I was also killing Jason by tawking and singin' like Cyndi Lauper (complete with lip snarl) at every available opportunity.
I boldly went there with George Takei
My good friend Rich with GLAAD was with George Takei and Jennifer Tyrrell, the lesbian booted from being a boy scout den mother due to her sexual orientation (had interviewed her here), and he graciously introduced me to George and facilitated a photo op.
I told George that I've been supporting him on Twitter a long while and he thanked me and was supernice, looking spiffy and giving us boy scout realness. "Oh, my!"
Their true colors were shining through
Cyndi's float was certainly good enough
Back to Cyndi's group, I waited with camera in hand and caught great footage of her as she emerged from the Andaz decked out in what could only be described as a Twelve Deadly Cyns top hat. Between that and her ageless face, it was 1995 all over again for me. Cyndi was businesslike as she positioned herself in her red convertible, allowing photographers to swarm over her and briefly acknowledging the crowd. In a flash, she took off and we all filed into place behind her car and banner.
Having a Cynfully good time
Before things really got going, I was able to get lots of close-up footage and photos of Cyndi in her parked vehicle. At first, tons of people were approaching her for photo ops (which she was granting liberally), so I asked a handler if I could snag one for my blog. He said yes, so I went around and commandeered a fabulous photographer (Jason was still amongst the marchers) named Marie to take my shot and e-mail it to me later. She complied as did Cyndi—and it came out pretty terrific!
When Cyndi met Tom
I'm sure Cyndi was a bit more excited to meet and speak with New York State Sen. Tom Duane, who helped us achieve marriage equality and who was the country's first HIV-positive person elected to office (or at least the first to be open about it, which is what counts).
Please let me know if you ID anyone in these photos so I can credit them. Please don't take any images unless you credit them to me. Thanks and enjoy! More coverage here.
It was that time of year again—another Broadway Bares fleshfest to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS—and we were late. My buddy Jason and I walked up to the Roseland around 10:15PM ahead of the midnight show, and the line had already wrapped around onto Broadway. I figured everything would work out, and yet I also swore that 2013 would be my year to see both the 9:30PM and midnight shows to double up on photos and videos.
Andy Mills is so hot he must have some beanstalkers out there
We'd been to the show many times before. In fact, you can flash back to those times here, here, here and here.
A sign posted before the show reminded us that photography was disrespectful to the participants, yet their excitement at being asked to pose told a different story. Why look amazing and wear an outlandish outfit if you're not going to let people document you for posterity?
Let's start with the best video: "Rotation"
In line we were joking with friends and came up with a parody that Jackie Beat needs to do—"Christian Fister" set to "Sister Christian", all about a holier-than-thou Bible-thumper who's secretly a pig bottom. These are the kinds of things that get said while waiting to see 200+ dudes and chicks in the almost-buff. That and the remark that Elena Roger is so hated in Evita thaf if she were to do Broadway Bares the crowd would root for HIV. Don't get made at me—I liked the production! (P.S. More seriously, why couldn't Ricky Martin have done Bares this year?)
A Smashing good time was had by all (thanks to Greg for these 2 pix)
My pal Greg exited the first show and promptly told us of seeing Christian Borle (formerly married to Sutton Foster, a piece of trivia that bears repeating at every opportunity), Steve Kazee and Will Chase (all pictured above) entering the midnight show together as VIPs, but mostly we were scoping out the rather hot crowd. We'd just done Folsom Street East earlier in the day (100s of photos coming soon) and it can be hard to turn off being turned on.
Hirsute is back! No stopping me when love handles come back in.
Inside, we dashed to the central of three stages and I glaciered my way from one body away to being right at the stage. It seemed to me to be an ideal spot, though there is an argument to be made against being too close—I wound up shooting straight up at some of the performers, which worked out well in cases where we're talking about a lead performer in a kilt.
Tinkerbelle of the ball
A wandering stud fondled this undercover agent pre-show
Before the show, which was themed to fairy tales, two lovely ladies fluttered overhead like gigantic Tinkerbells as sexy boys made the rounds selling memorabilia but giving everything else away in their skimpy outfits. There was a childlike sense of wonder in the air as well as the rather more grown up scent of balls. One had to be careful not to slip in the pools of Pavlovian drool once the lights went down signaling the main event was about to unfold.
The opening, "Happy Endings", was one of the most spectacular I can remember, a light-hearted romp starring superfit Kyle Dean Massey (those jean shorts were so lucky) as The (Gay) Boy and GCB's Miriam Shor as his Fairy Godmother. "Well, I used to be a good Christian bitch," she announced. "Now—I'm just a bitch."
Bet leggy Kyle Dean Massey has never needed help seeking happy endings
Kyle & Miriam were a Shor thing
But a well-intentioned bitch, and one who promised to help him find his own happy ending via a magical song she performed with backing by her Goddamnettes (Holly Davis, Chelsea Morgan Stock and Dan'Yelle Williamson)—it was consistently hysterical and bawdy.
These guys started great...
...but ended even better! (Jeff Metzler front—and back—'n' center!)
How can you not like a song that seamlessly segues into a limerick containing the word "cunty"?