Sunday, November 30, 2008

Technology and the Sunday Roast.

Cold and rainy day and night here in Manhattan.    The perfect time to stay in and read that book or watch that old movie.  Of course that kind of notion sadly makes me want to break out in hives.  

Thanks to the internet, texting and a constant nervous state of being the idea of sitting still makes me crazy. I no longer know how to watch television without pausing and washing dishes or checking e-mail.  I cannot read a book for fear that I will, I don't know what!  The thought of sitting STILL in my apartment, in my life - is TOO terrifying.  

This should be the scariest notion of all.  I no longer know how to be still.   

Meditation, the thought of it, makes me queasy.  

So back to rainy, cold, dark night.  I am home. It is a lovely place. The perfect place to eat soup and read a murder mystery. 

 I get dressed and head out for the gym. 

While I am waiting the bus, umbrella in hand, I realize, YOU ARE NUTS.  YOU GO BACK INTO THAT FLAT AND RELAX. NOW!  

I marched back home and made phone calls. And cod.  And cabbage.  And kashi. And roasted squash.  

Now I am typing what I just did instead of doing.  

Sadly, I am all a Twitter. 

Saturday, November 29, 2008

La Goulue et Moi et Mes Amis

Sadly John had to go back to LA for work.  But Helene and Daniele are staying on to check out more of the town.  Being both French gals they wanted to take me to a very French place here in New York.  They heard that La Goulue was a good choice.

Bon choix?!  Are you kidding me?  It is an EXCELLENT choix.   I have always wanted to go there. In fact I told Helene that I told myself that I was going take ME to La Goulue once I got a job to celebrate. 

And here I was, ce soir, celebrating. No job, but simply la vie avec mes amis.   Maybe it is a sign of good things to come?  I certainly hope so.  

No matter.  I had  a WONDERFUL time.  As I mentioned before I truly adore and respect and admire Helene so much.  And after several glasses of water I told her that she inspires me to take chances.  (Okay, so I didn't mention ALL that before, but it is so vrai.)  And her mom is just LOVE to me.  I feel her joy and it is infectious. I am so happy she is closer to Helene now that she is in LA and not Paris.  Though I would gladly have housesat!

Back to the meal.

Helene is one of the people who taught me food appreciation.  She loves life and food is a big part of life.  Oui?

I started with l'eau de New York and a duck salad.  It was wonderful.  Next to the salad I had at Chez Panisse, I am still thinking about it. And then I had a dorade fish dish that was perfectly French and perfectly prepared and perfectly (almost) Weight Watchers.   We split a lovely chocolate dessert. 

And cafe americain of course. 

Just being there with two lovely ladies in this bistro setting on the Upper East Side all warm and tended to.  It was the way life is supposed to be. For that moment at least it was.  

Merci Helene! 

Friday, November 28, 2008

Russian Tearoom and some Therapy

Took the train back to town. I have to say no matter how great a weekend in the country is, it is always nice to get back to the City. Both places exist to create greater appreciation for the other, I think. At least, I find.

After a wee rest and the gym, I met Helene and John and Danielle in town from Los Angeles. Helene and I used to work together at Fox and even travelled to Paris for work together. We kind of go way back. She is just the lovliest of people and I am so glad I was able to go to her and John's wedding in Palm Springs before I moved to New York in 2007.

We met at the Russian Tea Room (very Helene!). I had never been before and it was beautiful. I must go back when I get a job. It was so great to be with the three of them. Sadly it was short as they were off to dinner and then to Radio City for the Christmas show.

I later met up at Therapy Bar in Hell's Kitchen with Paul and Stephen. Also in from LA. I last saw them at Greg and George's wedding. I met them through Greg and George and really enjoy them. We planned at the wedding to meet in New York over the hols and here we were. Their friends Frank and Jeff joined.

Loud, crowded gay bars are a thing of the sort of past for me, but it was fun to be novel and go. They keep making more of 'em. And younger!

Fun night.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving and Taking

Ron, Jay, Stephen and I had a 9 course dinner for the 4 of us. It was amazing. Food is always amazing when I am with these boys. Three out of the four of us are foodies/gastrophiles and, not to mention, good cooks. I am not, but I KEEN! What I lack in skill I make up for in enthusiasm and eager to pleaseness.

I was Ron's sous chef and learned a lot.

If I can recall we had:
1. Roasted oysters
2. scallops on leek beds
3. Deviled Egg in cup.
4. cod with veg
5. Brussels sprout salad
6. veal with yam
7. butternut squash soup
8. Turkey and all the fixins
9. 5 pumpkin desserts on a plate.

Ron and John.
Chris, Cynthia, Joe and Ron

Brothers Stephen and Jay with Ron (Jay made the bread!)
The four diners and chefs.

It was massive and wonderful. A full day spent cooking and talking and just enjoying life and each other. Ron's sister Cynthia and her husband Joe and his nephew Chris and friend Jon came over for the dessert portion and the 8 of us had a lively discussion about politics and life in general.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Penn Station

What were they thinking?!
Dead and gone.  

Taking the train out of the city for the Thanksgiving holidays is a very foreign feel for this westcoast boy.  We don't really take trains out of cities.  We drive out of them, and in the case of Los Angeles, we don't really TRULY think upon it as a city in the first place. So this all feels SO East Coast in how it sounds to me. And I was thrilled. 

But I wanted to take the train to Long Island out of Grand Central Station and not Penn Station.  Purely for aesthetic reasons. Grand Central is just, well, prettier.  Ron, who was planning on picking me up in Mineola, said it was not possible. Either he had to move or I had to go out of Penn. 

Harummf.   Penn Station is another folly of urban "development." The original was torn down in 1963 though the tracks remain. A newer, uglier station was built in its place. Here you feel NOTHING akin to the grand departures those Europeans get to feel every day they leave Paris or even Glasgow.  This can only be had at Grand Central. 

Note to self: Get myself invited to somewhere in Connecticut next year. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Foursome on Fifth

Park Avenue. In the 60's. The Streets, not the temps- they were lower. I met Ashley and Jan and wee Bodie outside the Colony Club. It was so great to see more of them and yet less of them as they were on the WW program as am I.

Those two. Aren't they great?

We trotted to the VAST FAO Scwartz as our first stop. I am not sure if Bodie was as in awe as we were by the cathedral and kiddie consumerism. Stuffed dinosaurs for $1100 and all the action figures, baby clothes and Barbie dolls one could absorb after staring at the Lego statues of Batman, etc.

Then it was a full jaunt down 5th Ave. to Rockefeller Center and St Pat's. Ashley had to go home to poshify for her mum's 70's birthday soiree so Jan and Bodie and downscaled it and hightailed it across the park to the Upper West Side to my sweet, humble abode. Ah, warmth and tea and a place for the Bodie to roam.
The flames jumping out at me at St. Pat's!!

Jan and Bodie warm in my home!!!

The three of us at my fave Japanese and then headed across to the Upper East Side to wait of Ashley to come home to their spacious hotel room. A delight to be a family of friends. I feel it and I love it.

They prepped for a Thanksgiving departure to Cape Code and I headed home to my perch.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Spare Change

I got to a meeting, I went to the gym and then to a movie. Day became night and those were the events of a day I will never get back. Did I squander? Was I not accomplished enough? No, it was okay really. 

Did I help a small child or a man to eat? Well, no, but I did other things like brush teeth, learn more about my computer, and THINK about stuff. Not real material for an accomplishments list, but like Starbucks coffees, they add up. Don't they? Gosh, I have to rethink.

Aside from not earning a cent to pass on to others, I have no complaints about my day, really. Overall it was great. My workout was hard. I have lost 10+ pounds. I love my gym and I feel good. My meeting was good. I saw people I knew and met some new people. In a town of millions, I have made it a bit smaller.

This evening I took the subway to Rockefeller Center and walked by the skaters and the Germans and the angel statues preparing to get lit. I walked past the scaffolded St. Patrick's and turned the corner onto Madison Avenue.

I went to a screening of "Rachel Getting Married." It was in the plush Sony Screening Room in the Chippendale-inspired Sony Building which I used to walk by on the way to work in the 1980s when it was the AT& T Building. A very posh room in a posh office building on a posh floor. A throwback to glamour where the recession is all but forgotten and people are there to greet you as you step off the elevator through the vault-like doors into a wonderland of plushness.

No drinks were served like  I used to get in the screening rooms on Wardour Street in London back in the day. ("Back in the Day" another blog topic....)

The film was about addiction and family dynamics. It was a little forced in the "We Are the World" vein of colorblind (colorful?) casting and hopefulness for that (Another blog topic) but it was good. Anne Hathaway was excellent as was her sister who was played by Rosemarie DeWitt.   Rosemare DeWitt is one of those actresses that I notice in films and think "She is going to go places."  I am usually right about this. I have a nose for talented actresses ever since my casting days at Fenton Feinberg.  

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Australia - Great Date Movie for Those Who Do That Sort of Thing

Ron and I went to a screening of "Australia" today. I have to say I thought it would be a big sweeping mess and Nicole Kidman would be wooden, etc. That is what my snarky self prepared for.

I was so wrong. If you just go and sit down and let the lights go down and the popcorn heat the tips of your fingers and tickle your nose, you will just have a delightful 165 minutes at the cinema.

It was a down under "Gone with the Wind" epic romance/drama/historical/adventure thing. Nicole, like Vivian Leigh, just played it for all it was worth and let herself be bloodied and muddied and just had a ball. And Hugh Jackman, well Hugh Jackman, the Sexiest Man Alive really demonstrated that here. The director seemed to showcase his physique and relished in it as many audience-goers will as well.

Just a good fun movie with a social conscience. There, I was just a killjoy. Actually it was quite good that they talked about the "Lost Generation" and what the Australian government did to the indigenous people. And how Aussies treated mixed race folk. It is universal sadly.

But, something for everyone. Go see it.

Afterwards Baz Luhrman, Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman came out to do a Q & A. They were great and I was swept up in the whole event except for the dreadful Elton John song in the end credits. WWTT?!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Already Live There

"Someday I will go to Bilbao and see the Gehry-designed building." "Someday I will be in London and go to the Tate Modern." "Ah, the Paris Opera. What must it be like?"

It struck me ONCE AGAIN that I am in New York Bleedin' City. THIS is where the Guggenheim Museum is. I live here. I just go to it.

I wonder if this sounds odd to people. I just get struck so often that I live in the city where you just go to Carnegie Hall or the Met or the Statue of Liberty or 5th Avenue or Radio City. I do not need to dream of other places though all have their charms. I am still thrilled and excited by the whole thing that is here in MY city. Sure one pays a fortune to live here, but there is just SO much going for the place. And maybe the star attraction is the people. I love all the people! Oh, and Central Park. I love Central Park with all the people in it. And sometimes not in it.

What brought this all about was my day with my pal Nancy at the Guggenheim. We went on this FREEZING cold day to the top of the spiral to this "Anyspacewhatever" exhibit and lazed on giant stuffed pillows whilst sipping endless cups of Illy cappuccinos (I know, "cappuccini."). It was decadent. And free - Nancy is a member. Then she took me through the permanent collection and "esplained" a lot of the little details as only an art major slash someone who has listened to the headphone tour before can do.

It was wonderful.

I then walked past the Cooper-Hewitt, the Met, the French consulate, and the Neue Gallerie not for any opulence and wonderment thrill, but that just happens to be my way home from the Guggenheim!

Nancy a true blue New Yorker too!

Friday, November 21, 2008

All in a Day.

The holidays are FAST approaching. The economy is FAST declining. The cold is FAST upon us here and the convergence of it all lead to a day that was awash and adrift.

Glamour was low. Achievement was low. But my spirits were high.

I had plans to meet a friend at the Sony building across the park on Madison. This offered the opportunity to walk across the park which will brighten anyone's day. Again Central Park HAS NO BAD ANGLES! It is a stunner all year round. And with proper music barreling into my head out of my ipod while I walk past Sheep Meadow, I am a stunner too.

Afterwards I had a hard workout at the gym and then that evening crashed into my friend Charlie. It was spontaneity in Manhattan! Small world Gotham. We went to Vinyl for dinner where I crashed into my friend Basil and found out he will no longer be running Newfest, the GLBT film festival in New York City. Don't know what is up with that. I am sad about it, but I guess it was time for a change.

Charlie and I had a good blether and hang out and then I was home and warm and now to me kip.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jobbie Hunting

Folks the news is grim. The economy is in the crapper. Layoffs are happening every day. Unemployment numbers are through the roof. Many jobs are now frozen. I know this first hand. And the holidays are fast approaching, a time when employers typically are not talking to new people. And it is getting cold. And dark.

What to do? Drink? Rage? Blame it on the man?
I think it is the time get rid of clutter, get some sleep and exercise, enjoy the beauty of this time of year and ...think differently.

Change always breeds creativity out of necessity. The old ways die, but new ideas break through the permafrost. Always.

WHAT are we not thinking of? What is out there that I can be the guy for? Who needs what?

I also say TALK to as many people as will listen about what you are looking for if you know. Even if you don't, talk to people and tell them that you want to be an astronaut but you are willing to do anything.

Volunteer to hang lights.

Also try out a new church, club. Seriously. Meet new people. Life is telling you to shake it up. Stick out your paw and say "Hi!" People need you to be nice to them. They will welcome your kindness and want to help.


Clean your house. Shave. Go out and help your fellow man.

And pray your ass off.

(written in pajama bottoms, 3 day growth and phone on vibrate.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Milk," man. It Delivers.

Went to a screening of "Milk" with pals Sean and Pat. Though I didn't cry, I was moved in so many, many ways.

Sean Penn is note perfect as the slain gay rights leader.

Seeing and hearing Anita Bryant go on about "the children" and "family values" as ways to take away rights from gay people made me think sadly, in light of today's Prop 8 issue, how "the more things change, the more they stay the same." The same tired arguments to defend the words "marriage" and "family" in ways that seem/ed scared and defensive.

This film has inadvertantly come out at a great time. I hope people get angry and stand up and out.

So odd seeing a time AND place from my life and past recreated on screen.

Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated on November 27, 1978. I was 16, a junior in high school at St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco. I went to school with Chris and Jon Moscone, the mayor's sons. I will never ever forget walking up the stairwell at school to go to what I think was my fourth period class and saying hello to Jon coming down the stairs. It was in that classroom that the principal announced over the tannoy that Mayor Moscone had been killed. (Harvey Milk was never mentioned, I should mention.)

Life was never the same after that year in San Francisco. Jonestown (my dad had Jim Jones's son as a patient - loads of demi connections to all that was going on.) had just happened and now these murders and the aftermath. Another classmate's father was murdered at the Water Dept. at Lake Merced. Another funeral. Another day off school. We passed the scene when my mom drove us to school.

I was able to talk to Josh Brolin after the screening. He played Dan White. I went to grammar school with Dan White's cousins. We had an interesting chat. He met Dan White's son, the one whose baptism we see in the film. It was a moving portrayal of a guy in over his head. Dan White ended his sad life in the car in the garage with a hose pumping in carbon monoxide. Everyone loses.

Go see "Milk." It will see you at the Oscars. And hopefully see you standing up for Equal Rights.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"You're So Adorable!"

This is what Patricia Clarkson said to me after I interviewed her for the BAFTA screening of "Elegy" in Tribeca. I thanked her for coming and speaking to us and she said, "It was easy, you're so adorable." And I said in tones not suitable for a post mid-forties man, "Wow, that is SO going in my blog."

I felt like Rudolf the Rednosed Reindeer after Clarice shows interest and he skips around (yes, really. He actually prances.) and proclaims "She likes me! She likes me!" and then his black prop nose pops off and he is revealed. I didn't have anything like that, but on the inside I did!

I first NOTICED Patricia Clarkson in "Six Feet Under." Some actors you watch and some you NOTICE as in "who IS that?" I then saw her in the "Station Agent" and loved her. She is really one of the greats I have to say, and it was a pleasure to meet her, hang with her in the green room and be in front of an audience with her. You can't go wrong with intelligence, beauty, talent and a slight Southern accent. Yes, you will hear me say this ALL the time.

I really enjoyed "Elegy" as well. It stars Ben Kingsley, Penelope Cruz, Patricia Clarkson, Dennis Hopper, Peter Sarsgaard and Debbie Harry! Some really amazing lines on desire, aging, loss, lust, and longing. All topics I seem inhabit as if I doused myself with milk and then rolled around in a tray of crushed Specil K cereal.

I especially liked Patty's (I can call her that now) character's line on aging: "The way men look at me changes every day." Ouch.

But the way men look at Patricia Clarkson is only like...WOW!

Monday, November 17, 2008


I was walking up Columbus Avenue on the Upper West Side on a frigid afternoon and I saw this sign in the window of a a Mexican restaurant. I had never seen it before and I walk up this part of Columbus all the time. I never notice Mexican restaurants much here as I think they are not "that good." But here was almost a "shout out" to my beloved San Francisco burrito. It thrilled me to see the homage in writing in Manhattan.

I lived in Los Angeles for 12 plus years and had wonderful Mexican food, but I always favored the burritos from the Mission District in San Francisco. They seem to win in all categories of texture, heft, blend of flavors, heat, etc. I just have always loved them.

This sign made me almost gastronomically homesick. I am going home at Christmas and I am now powered to go and eat burritos.

It is funny how the thought of some foods can be "transportative." From the corner of Columbus and 71st I can float to Mission Street and Valencia Street as in an out of body experience and be at La Taqueria, El Farolito and La Cumbre. I can feel the stinging crunch of the chile peppers and the soft, chewiness of the hot, blanket-like tortilla. The meat and the guacamole and rice and beans just blend so perfectly, yet hold their own.

Buritto eating in San Franciso is probably one of the best things in life when I think of it. And people are rabid in their loyalty which I love. Just like Phildelphians and their cheesesteaks. Regional food passion is LIFE in my book. It is one of the things that reminds people why they are alive. I know that sounds overstretching, but I hasten to think it is true.

To be truly alive one has to have passions about food, music, art, people, places.

Just try to prove me wrong.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Spoiler Alert

I always wanted that for a title of a book, essay, something. Catchy, "of the moment," cryptic.

Of course this day I have nothing to spoil. Nothing to announce, so it is purely window dressing and a bit of a cry wolf for when I really want to use it.
I am finding so strongly that these more distinct seasons in the East inform my life in such wonderful, poetic ways. I think differently with leaves falling on the ground around me. I feel differently in my heart when I have to bundle up. I play different music on my ipod when it is raining and cold.

Today I went to a church. Not a Catholic one. I went to a Unitarian Universalist church. I cried a bit in the pew. I could care less admitting it. (Then why did you write that?) The music and the sermon were for me that day. Sometimes when you are searching you "find," and sometimes you "will it." Not sure where I am on that, but it begs investigation. I think if you cry without anticipation you have hit something that needs attention. It is an easy tool. An accurate indicator.

Later I met my friend Ron and we went to Lincoln Center to see "South Pacific." Take away all you know and think about was incredible. How can layers be mined from that musical so many decades later? How can some actors bring something really wonderful to roles that Mitzi Gaynor just skipped delightfully through? Racism, hate, prejudice. And war. And great music with a full orchestra. Really worth seeing. And directed by Bart Sher who was a few years ahead of me at St. Ignatius College Prep. There is a guy to speak to the students.

Ron and I are the same age, with 6 months in his favor. We are middle aged single men meeting on a cold Fall day in New York City to go see this musical at Lincoln Center. We have lunch at O'Neils. We see Bruce Willis there with a young woman that we only know is not one of his daughters by the sexual affection they suggest. I am middle-aged. Single. I go to the theatre. It is Fall.

What is the spoiler alert? I don't know it yet myself. I can only hope there is one.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Just say NO!!!

All across the nation at 1:30 ET people came out to protest and said NO to inequality and discrimination. The matter is not about "morality" or religious beliefs or approval, it is about making all people equal under the eyes of the law. The passage of Proposition 8 in California which AMENDS the state constitution to say "Marriage is ONLY between a man and woman" thus TAKING AWAY rights from California citizens. 18,000 Gay and Lesbian couples got married and now their marriages are in question plus the door is shut on any other gay or lesbian couples getting married. Is that fair? Is that equality no matter what you think of gay people?

Did you know a gay person can now not adopt a child or be a FOSTER PARENT in Arkansas? And nor can any straight person who is not married!!! Who does this hurt? The kids. Is there is fudging of church and state here? I'd say so. And before anyone makes dismissive jokes, that is serious business. The chip, chip, chipping away of rights. You can hear it, you can feel it.

Before I get to my protest in New York, I want to SHOUT OUT that my friend Merrill in the Bay Area who worked with her amazing kids, Chandler and Liam, and they made a poster of their own and went and protested in San Jose!!!! She told me I inspired them. And you can imagine how this made me feel. Wow. This is a straight woman with a husband, my friend Will, who got up and out and said NO. She knows me. Her kids know me. They didn't think it was right.

I thank them for their support, their courage and I thank Merrill for taking the opportunity to teach her already bright kids about something that is not yucky, horrible, or to be shunned. We exist. And NO one is saying you have to talk about my horrible dating life in your classrooms! Loads of lies went down and today people got up and out and said NO across this great nation.

Please continue to tell people what is happening and why is it not right to have a majority take away rights from a minority.

The amazing Liam and the amazing Chandler. They made this sign! Liam and Chandler's first protest sign. Their Berkeley grad dad will be proud.


New York City held their protest down at City Hall. I was a volunteer and got people to sign a letter to Sen. Reuben Diaz of the Bronx who said he will not support any State Senators who support gay people being allowed to marry. It keeps going folks. I got a lot of signatures and got the word out. I was able to stand with my friend Dolores and hold up signs to tourist buses that came by. About 7000 people showed up to say NO!!!! It was very moving and very empowering for me. I feel I have to be a stand up guy and this is one of the causes I have to stand up about.

Calm before the storm of peaceful protesters at City Hall NYC.

These two guys got married in my hometown of San Francisco.

I liked his sign, I should have proposed. "Hey nice sign, wanna go to Connecticut?"

My pal Dolores. It was a pleasure to hang out with her today! I feel her energy!

Way cool husband and wife. I really appreciate them standing up and told them so.

My friends Dolores and John with his friend Lin.

My Pal AL!!! in LA. With man in bridal dress!!!My pal Jon in San Francisco! Lovely day to say NOOOOO!!!