Thursday, September 28, 2006

Pocket Litter

Contents of my various pockets upon unpacking.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Brief Circuit Party Advisory.

Well, I'm back.

Essentially, I spent the last five days and roughly a thousand dollars to experience seventeen hours in steaming hot discos with thousands of shirtless drug addled gay men, plus a jam and jelly show street fair augmented with porn stars and attendees in assless chaps. It was both interesting and enjoyable, though as is typical for me, neverwhen or why it was all supposed to be. I'm much too exhausted to write any sort of coherent debriefing for you. However, here's an essay on the subject, written to me a couple of years ago by my traveling companion back when I was contemplating attending a similar near-by event. Different year, different city, different party, but excepting those particulars, overall the advisory strongly applies.

"I no longer enjoy the music at circuit parties. The music took a strong turn, sometime around 2000, from beautiful, melodic, uplifting dark, hard, drum tracks.
This is, of course, due to the prevalence of crystal meth.

All club music, particularly gay club music, has been largely informed by the dominant drug-of-choice of its day.

Disco could have never happened without cocaine, for example. disco SOUNDS like cocaine...frothy, giddy, gleeful.

House music and its sexual edge, would have been left in the music dustbins if not for the hug-drug, ecstasy.

Trance music was fueled in many ways by the dis associative drugs Special K and GHB...hence the name.

And about 3-4 years ago, crystal meth exploded out of the sex parties and chat rooms of California into the consciousness (and nostrils) of circuit boys (and DJs).

Crystal creates a relentless, unebbing pounding sense of 'the hunt'. tribal music (and its most popular purveyor, Alegria resident DJ Abel) mines that same urgency.

Tribal music is overwhelmingly drum-led. often several hours at today's circuit party will go by without a single musical phrase completed. what few vocals appear, are usually exhortive shouts. 'Do it.' (repeat 1000 times). 'Work it'(repeat 1000 times).
The combination of the relentless drum tracks, with a crowd that is feeling a paradoxical mix of desire and apathy, tends to create an environment so devoid of actual joy, it can appear like the crowd is dancing because someone is MAKING THEM, at gunpoint.

A friend recently described the last Alegria as 'an icy catwalk of steroid queens giving face'. I'd have to concur.
however, be advised that MANY MANY more friends utterly LIVE for Alegria. They describe it as 'charging their soul'. keep in mind my age, and my sullen attitude when considering my review of Alegria.

Alegria occurs 5-6 times a year. Holiday weekends (Memorial Day, Labor Day), Gay Pride weekend, Black Party weekend, and their annual anniversary party. since Alegria began, I've been to perhaps 4 of the parties.

Previously Alegria was held at the insanely annoying Sound Factory, with its 4 small levels, oppressive heat, and torturous staircases.

Alegria is now held at Crobar, an infinitely better venue. much larger, easier to navigate, multiple rooms, and a balcony to watch from above.

I pointed Crobar out to you when we walked past. It's right down from the Eagle, after you pass Scores, the titty bar.

You should know that Alegria posts its start time as 11pm, but no one really gets there until 4am. The holiday weekend events, like the upcoming one, famously don't peak until nearly noon on Monday. by that point virtually 100% of crowd will be clenching their jaws, in a crystal-fueled bug-eyed state.

The Muscle Nazi quotient of the Alegria crowd is quite high. 100% of the room will have its shirt off, often before admittance.

and if i were you, I WOULD GO.

In light of what I've said above, that may suprise you. but there is a distinct feeling out there (from the various chat boards that i monitor, and from friends who work in the circuit world) that the scene is fading, and suprisingly quickly at that.

Major circuit events in 2003 saw a decline in attendance of 15-20%, following a couple of bad years which resulted from the post 9-11 travel decline.

Huge uber-events appear to have seen their day. The trend talked about now, is smaller, more intimate, perhaps by-invitation the old Phoenix Rising parties.

Alegria, as an event, as current representation of circuit like, as a snapshot of pop culture, is at the top of its game.
It's notable and notorious. it's a spectacle and a specimen.

You should go.

1- Trim your wallet to ID and ATM.

2- Take 2-3 times as much cash as you think you'll need

3- The drug pat down historically has been been perfunctory.
however, be prepared to be THOROUGHLY searched, up to and
including your butt crack and nut sack. I am NOT kidding.
they will inspect your cell phone to ensure that you haven't
replaced its battery with drugs, btw.

4- No ins-and-out allowed. the party lasts up to 18 hours.
plan accordingly.

5- Although drug use can be quite open and obvious, there are
always undercover cops at these events. Act accordingly.

6- BRING EARPLUGS. I cannot stress this enough. the damage
caused by hours of percussive music, at the volume DJ Abel
plays can be painful at best, permanent at worst. You can
get a dozen foam earplugs at Rite Aid for a few bucks.
You can make friends, if you have extra btw.

7- Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.

8- The value of the disco nap CANNOT be overestimated.

Most of the Eagle crowd will be in Chicago, attending IML.
I'm not sure what I'm planning for Sunday night. YOU should be
napping during the beer bust period of the day, probably.


P.S. Alegria is the Portuguese word for 'joy'. the emphasis, as in many Portuguese words, is on the last syllable.

It's pronounced 'al-eh-GRIA';

You may know the musical notation 'allegra', which means to 'play joyously'.

Here are some fun ways you will hear 'Alegria' mispronounced:

'AH-leg-ra' like the allergy medicine

'ah-LEG-ria' wrong syllable emphasized

'all-ah-gria' as in, 'we all agree-ah'

You can always spot the Alegria virgins that way.

Hope this all helps!"


Monday, September 25, 2006

I Travel

Morning coffee by the hotel, Union Square.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I Travel

Ed and Tim on Twin Peaks. Thursday, 5PM.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I Travel

I'm flying to San Francisco in five hours for the whole Folsom thing.
Blogdaddy is taking me. Should be interesting.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Such Fun We Had! Yes.

Ed, Paul, and Damien in Washinton DC

Amtrak means adventure to me, and has ever since I started wandering the North East Corridor as a boy. I brought a magazine and coloring books onto the train, but as always spent the whole trip looking out the windows at inlets, barns and bridges, interspersed with endlessly intriguing scenes of industrial decay. I met up with Peter and Damien at the swanky yet surprisingly inexpensive hotel overlooking DuPont Circle, then headed off to Titan, for the always fun (if unfortunately titled) "WOOF". Ill advised jaunts to Green Lantern and Eagle followed, and were predictably lame, but our intrepid group made it's own fun. DC seems like an early town.

Paul arrived Saturday, to roust us for an afternoon breakfast, and then recorded our pleasant meanderings following the homo trail through the rest of the day. Along the march I managed to loose the treasured sunglasses ( just like Patrick McGoohan's in "The Prisoner") my great grandfather wore on his world travels in the 60's and 70's. Damnit. We all headed back to the hotel for a nap, but instead chattered on and on about clothes, records and boys. We were summoned to dinner and drinks. I did not receive the black t-shirt and 501's memo, so I showed up to eye rolling in iconoclastic wall paper print polyester crepe over a wife beater - though without my dork glasses. I love that shirt. At the outdoor table I realized that that nagging thing I'd forgotten to do before leaving Philly was transfer cash into my empty account. I considered a long evening of trading bathroom blow jobs for beers, but a quick computer pit stop precluded that. Damnit.

More drinks at Jimbo's on the way, then onto The 9:30 Club, where we examined the assemled talent waiting for the doors to open. As always for this night, an especially fine looking bunch. Inside we continued to marvel at both the quantity and quality of really hot guys filling the floor of the hanger sized hall, freshly bannered for the event in a sort of Nuremberg rally aesthetic with complimentary video projections. Mould and Morel spun their trademark dance music for people who actually like music, including featured cuts from their impressive new release.

The morning after brain fog burned off with the searing Sunday sunshine, bringing the realization that none of our crew had managed to drag off one of the numerous fine furry specimens from the night before. Damnit. We drifted off to separate departures, me onto my train and the others to bus and airport. I settled into my seat smiling; a great weekend with a wonderful bunch of guys. Such fun we had! Yes.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Hipster Sighting

Sunday, September 17, 2006

More Coffee

Ah! Much better...

Friday, September 15, 2006


My BLOWOFF cd and t-shirt (finally) arrived!

I'm headed to DC for the release party. Should be fun.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

September 11th. 2001

In the studio, over rabbit ears on a tiny black and white T.V. set, we watched the towers explode, burn and collapse; flickering images of an abstract, distant event. The whole production had a sort of Irwin Allen absurdity to it - scale-less rectangular monoliths dropping into the stage while dry ice smoke billowed up through the trap door openings - all replayed again and again on the fuzzy grey screen in front of the open window. It was like the Saturday morning Creature Feature ; invisible monsters ravaging the sets of Toho Studios. The television began to tell us that the word was fundamentally and irreversibly changed. Everything was different, now.

I recalled the aluminum between both palms, spread wide to span the flat of the canted corner where the building met the plaza, a Century 21 bag looped over my wrist. I felt myself pressing against the structure - was it metal or glass there? - hard and cool, and remembered looking up, my head craned back, peering over my sunglasses, mouth open, up up up to where the corner intersected the flat azure far above. The perspective was exhilarating and terrifying. For an irrational second I feared sliding along the corner and falling, helplessly spinning into the sky. I let go, released from the imaginary reverse gravity. "Ew... I'll take the crab juice," I declared to no one, clicked the nail of my index finger against the metal -click click- and turned away toward the subway.

We watched again as the buildings dissolved, like cigarettes sucked down at high speed, inhaled by the lungs of a giant in the lower concourse, the ashes swirling and billowing. Ashes to ashes. Behind the television set, beyond the open window, the luridly blue sky above the Ben Franklin Bridge was peculiarly clear of jets and their fluffy white trails. It was the only thing that seemed different at all.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Parking II

The orange barrels appeared Tuesday, lining Greene and Percey Streets. Backhoes and bulldozers followed Wednesday, accompanied by a flotilla of pick ups and SUVs. It has begun.

Monday, September 04, 2006


The street in front of the studio building is a wide market street allowing end in parking on the opposite side. The surrounding blocks are largely empty of residents or businesses, as they have been for decades. Right across Spring Garden is a giant Mayan inspired brick pile: a printing plant abandoned for many years. There was a windowless '59 El Dorado hard top smashed in it's loading dock, with printer frames scattered around and chunks of spalled concrete like a set from the Planet of The Apes T.V. show. But we had PARKING, then. Everywhere. At any hour one could drive up to our building and park right in front, or at least in sight of, the door - Rock Star Parking; just like on Starsky and Hutch. You'd empty your car of change, CDs, gloves, jackets, umbrellas, and visible packs of chewing gum, then race across the crack vial littered asphalt moonscape to the spider webb shattered laminated glass lobby doors, and safety. Days were planned to ensure departure before darkness or with another inmate standing sentry between the proud limestone columns of the porticoed entrance. Recently, the printer's has been repurposed as city offices and some sort of tax payer subsidized job training center for folks supposedly poor and disenfranchised enough to need a boost, but who somehow manage to drive cars nicer than any I've ever owned. They've taken all the parking spaces.

Additionally, the surrounding fields, once closely covered with three story brick row houses but for over twenty years luxuriously vacant and overgrown, are being redeveloped as luxury condominiums. The floor plans verge on disfunctional,
the elevations flat and cheaply detailed, yet they will sell. The project is dubbed "Spring Arts Place" in honor of the painters, sculptors and wood workers it is driving away. Ground will be broken in October. Typically in such cases, a chain link stockade is raised around the site, enclosing sidewalks and the parking lane for the construction's duration. The exclusion zones do not seem to facilitate construction, but rather provide spots for the construction workers' New Jersey tagged F150's, Durangos and Escalades. No provisions are made for displaced pedestrians, let alone the battered Honda Civics, Toyota pickups and ancient primer gray painted Volvo station wagons of grievously inconvenienced art industry laborers.

We are well skilled at squeezing cars in to spots scarcely larger than the hoopties we drive, but must now further hone our parallel parking chops to meet the pressures of increasingly diminishing supply. As good at it as I am (and I'm awfully good) I don't think I'll be in the parking scrum as before. The eight turns of the wheel bumper kissing maneuvers executed with the former car just won't do with the new (to me) near-luxury-segment-kinda-nice-and-not-all-fucked-up-yet albino leopard. I'll need to exercise considerable restraint.

Tatting and Decoupage

The genealogy of my Dad's family is littered with maiden aunts and eccentric bachelors: empty husks drying in chambers behind the kitchens of their fathers' houses or in rooms taken above actuaries and druggists at the end of High Street. A handful of concerned individuals who want only the best for me can't fathom why I am becoming one, and sincerely wish that it was not my lot. They counsel adjustments to that end: away with the dorky glasses, the garish vintage shirts, flip flops and pull-on boots; stop having so many OPINIONS; smile(!) more (but not too much); and especially - Lighten Up! Get back to the gym. In the guise of contacts, A&F, Timberlands and defined abs, I would fare better, they say. True, I'm sure, and sometimes the failure is packaging, but a time is reached when marketing can't be blamed, and the team must acknowledge that consumers just aren't interested in the product. So then. Where is my knitting?

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