Sunday, June 12, 2005
Location: San Francisco (Home of Rice-a-Roni and various other starches)
Sonoma/Napa is an incredible way to spend a day if you're in the area. Even if you're not much into wine, just getting to experience the vast vineyards, age-old making techniques and the energy that comes with such a place is very very cool. For any film buffs out there, it seems that 'Sideways' has rubbed off on wine country much like the novel 'DaVinci Code' has for Paris (and other locals written about), as even the smaller wineries were packed to the gills with tour groups and various private tours.
My favorite that was visited? Coppola's vineyard, which has an incredibly awesome pinot noir (any other closet pinot fans out there?) and is reasonably priced all the way around. It's quite a compound. I especially enjoyed Coppola's mini-movie memorabilia museum upstairs: Gives a good chance to see props from his films and what appear to be original Oscar statues from his various wins over the years. I thought of biting into one of the golden men to see if they were in fact made of chocolate, but i had a feeling that the tour-group behind me would have had me killed... Godfather-style no doubt.
On Saturday night, i also had a chance to catch one of SFO's most talked-about stage spectacles: Beach Blanket Babylon. Admittedly, it was pretty damn smart and a whole lot less campy than i was expecting. Basically, they take current events in the press and wedge them into known songs, all while furthering a plotline involving a more-than-desperate Snow White on a worldwide hunt for a man. Think of it as Forbidden Broadway-meets-Headline News. It's sharp, extremely quick and well-performed. The theatre it's performed in is very 'Cabaret'ish and is intimate enough to let the actors get right into the fray of things. The costumes are cartoonish and way over-the-top, but not in the same glamorized way that you see at the Palm Springs Follies.
I was somewhat surprised that with so many gay men working in the show (and being in SFO) that the show would be more, well.... gay. Yea, the show worked in some Gavin Newsom 'legalizing marriage in San Fran' bits, but overall it was pretty straight-laced and even when it came to lampooning politics, stayed well above the line. Basically, they played it safe. After the show was out, i realized why, watching all the 60+ crowd pile back into the lined-up tourbuses. They'd probably kill their target audience (literally) if they got to risque. Eh. Either way, it's a helluva show. If you're around the city, snag a ticket and let me know what you thought.
Not too long ago i mentioned bumping into Jesse Jackson in an airport and striking up a conversation with him. After the 20th angry email i received for even mentioning the guy, i thought i'd clear something up: Just because i mention something, doesn't necessarily mean i endorse it or the person. Let's make that clear. Jackson was simply standing there waiting to go through the metal detector and i thought i'd make small talk. Who knew he'd actually turn, look at me and talk back? I was pretty stunned myself. All that being said, it's not as if Jesse will be inviting me to Chicago for dinner at Trotters anytime soon ;)
Anyone out there a Bill Maher fan? I think he's fantastic. I try to catch reruns of 'Real Time' on HBO when i can. It's his newer show (his original 'Politically Incorrect' was cancelled for pretty sketchy post 9-11 reasons). It's wonderful to hear politically (and emotionally) charged debate on cable, where the panel doesn't need to worry about dropping the F-bomb. About a week ago Maher had Jane Fonda on and, of course, cornered her into answering about her various anti-war beliefs. Her answers, while complete, disappointed me. In finding out who she really was throughout the years, i think she's lost some of that fire in her belly. It sort of sad. She seemed to be on Maher's show not to get into a real discussion, but to instead flog her new movie. I understand the need to promote a project, but Real Time was not the place. If Maher can have someone like Michael Moore (a PR whore after my own heart) on and not once have him bring up one of his documentaries or books, then can't Fonda drop the schtick for one interview and bring back the unmitigated opinionation?
Hell, is 'opinionation' even a word? Hmmm.
So anyway, it's gay pride month and with that thought, i tend to cringe a little. Why you ask? Well, we seem to be the darlings of the media as of late and with that very open PR, we seem to always end up on the evening news the same way, year after year: Shots of gogo boys in g-strings, drag queens prancing around and some Grand Marshall of the parade that no one's even heard of since 1982. Is this the way we want the rest of the world to recognize us? I understand that as a community we feed off and get strength from our differences, but it gets to this point where i begin to understand why the straight community has these horrible misconceptions about gays. We're not freaks. We never have been.
Hey, i like to get my groove on in a tight pair of undies as much as the next guy: You just won't see me doing it on a float going down Christopher Street.
All that being said, it reminds me of my first and only pride event i attended here in San Antonio years back...
*cue harp music and smoke effects for flashback*
It was pretty packed, held outside and sponsored by ID Lube (... figures that i'd remember the lube company, right?). There were many families attending the event as well. The MC of the whole event was a drag queen who got up onstage and started things off by yelling 'Hey all you faggot cunts' into the mic. Some of the crowd screamed in positive affirmation.
How does being called a 'faggot cunt' reinforce gay pride? Moreso, how does yelling that kind of thing into a microphone while small children are around solidify an image that the gay community is nothing more than trash? Sadly, there were TV cameras there to catch the whole thing. The families that were there had to eventually leave, as the drag MC kept going lower on the tacky-totem-pole.
That was my first and last pride. Moral of story: I've got pride in myself. I don't need a month, a float, a headliner and a rainbow to tell me who i am. I already know :)
In homage to Bill Maher's 'New Rules,' i thought i'd start my own set of pontifications, lovingly dubbed 'Fifteen's 15.' Feel free to email me your own and i'll add them to the list. I'm hoping that this will be an ongoing thing:
Fifteen's 15 (so far):
1) Would someone tell Rosie O'Donnell that lending her name to this season's QAF is not a step up. This show couldn't have worse writing if they gave fountain pens to orangutans on valium. ODonnell's acting on the Showtime series is wooden enough to go head-to-head in a crap-actor showdown with Hayden Christensen. Let's get ready to... *snore*
2) Quit stroking me slow Hillary. Piss or get off the pot. 2008 ain't that far away.
3) Someone must stop the Cirque du Soleil. If we hate the French so much, how come we gave them Las Vegas? There are now six Cirque du Soleil-related shows on The Strip. Six! Who wants to spend two hours watching a bunch of naked French guys fold themselves in half? You know what? Fuggetaboudit. We need more Cirque du Soleil...
4) There's no such thing as flavored water. There's a whole aisle of this crap at the supermarket- water- but without that watery taste. I'm sorry, but flavored water is called a soft drink. You want flavored water? Pour some scotch over ice and let it melt. That's your flavored water.
5) Do we really need to suffer through another Margaret Cho standup tour? We all know the routine by now: Impersonate mom, bitch about weight, ass-kiss the gays in the crowd, rant about being a strong Korean-American woman and then say the word 'chink' repeatedly. It's really getting old and frankly, Kathy Griffin's getting sick of picking up her audience slack.
6) If you're watching people play cards on TV, you either need a better hobby or a drinking problem. First, there was "Celebrity Poker." Then there was "Celebrity Blackjack." I saw one show that was just Camryn Mannheim scratching lottery tickets. I think it's time to carry on.
7) Johnny Depp is the new Willy Wonka. I'm frightened. Not because i don't think Depp can handle it, but because he openly said he detested Gene Wilder's performance in the original. Now that's sacrelig. Someone get the gong ready...
8) The more complicated the Starbucks order, the bigger the asshole. If you walk into a Starbucks and order a "decaf grande half-soy, half-lowfat, iced vanilla, double-shot, gingerbread cappuccino, extra dry, light ice, with one Sweet-n-Low and one NutraSweet," you're a huge asshole. The only reason that Starbucks survives is to make unimportant people feel important about making 6 decisions about one cup of coffee.
As i said above, feel free to shoot me an E and add to the list. I'm listening.
I'm going to end this week's edition with the usual EYE CANDY, but watch out because it's raining schlong and i wouldn't want you to poke an eye out.
Make sure to keep an eye out for my EYE CANDY archive, updated weekly on my yahoo group. If you're interested in keeping up, the link in on the left side menu at the top.
Thanks for tuning into this week's rant :) I appreciate it bigtime. This site is getting to the point where i'll be soon needing to transfer to a standalone site. More info to come on that in the near future, but things are underway and be assured that it will be MUCH more than just the usual 15 Minutes. I'm really excited about this...
Oh yes, and thanks to the various Che Guevara's-in-Training on 'MC Numero Dos' for your constant banter about little ol' me. I really do feel like the illustrious William Shatner knowing that my name is consistantly making your headlines. By the numbers, my email has gone up considerably since this whole shabang started and with just the least bit of sarcasm in my heart, i thank you for the spotlight. Now where's my trophy dammit?
"Arguing on the internet is like running in the special olympics: Even if you win you're still retarded." --- Jesse Dane (An escort with one helluva sense of humor!)