Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Those chops are kind of sexy on ol' Larry...
Am I the only breathing person left on the face of this earth who finds the beguiling news ticker of CNN just alluring enough to stay tuned to this election mess? Is it the set-in-stone coif of Vanderbuilt-spawned Anderson Cooper or perhaps it's the lowball, lobbed and labored interviewing of octogenerian Larry King that keeps me coming back for more. I'm serious. This is more addictive than the crack whores on A&E's Intervention.
I'm admitting it, here and now: If CNN was an abortion clinic, I'd be the Rev. Phelps (or at least one of his picketing congregation). I'm simply drawn to this channel, especially now thanks to the almost around-the-clock coverage of the upcoming presidental election. Sure, Fox News has it's own spin on things, but until Sean Hannity pipes down, letting Combs get in a word edgewise, I'm sticking to the bland goodness that is the Cable News Network. Ted Turner, is there nothing you can't do? Leave it up to a man who once mounted Jane Fonda to addict me to a bland, relatively opinion-free news channel. I rarely compare a cable channel with the warm feeling that homemade meatloaf gives me, but there's just no other way to put it. Every time I watch one of their anchors, I get that same 'welcome back' feeling I have when watching an airline safety demo. In a way, when the flight attendant is telling the cabin what to do with our faux-floatation-seats in the event of a water landing, what she's actually saying to me is 'nice to see you again Ben. Don't be shocked if I step over your lifeless body to exit onto the wing.' Now that's customer service.
Spending 'Super Tuesday' in London was an interesting experience in that all local channels kept current with how numbers were progressing, even if the coverage seemed a little pained. Clinton seemed to be the favored candidate amongst Brits, with Obama being taken to task for his inexperience and general playing of the race card. It was fascinating to hear Londoners speak honestly, to the point of being blunt, about the two Democratic frontrunners: Americans still seem too self-concious and politically correct to outwardly put their most honest thoughts forward, especially on television. No matter what we may say on the street, everything changes when we're alone and in the voting booth. It's always been that way with certain absolute truths: Hillary is a woman. Obama is black. Edwards belongs in a Mentos commercial.
I find it somewhat funny that the Republican candidates are all trying to prove how Regan-esque they all are, with everyone waxing poetic on being the 'true conservative' of the party. With Romney now out of the show, it's pretty much assumed that McCain is getting the nomination, especially since he's proving popular amongst independents who don't have a damned clue and seem to change their minds based on Oprah's weight flux. And then there's poor Huckabee... Here's a guy who thought his evangelical fanbase would save his bible-banging chances and they couldn't even get him off of first base. Something tells me that what we don't need in the White House is another guy who consults his bible before he presses the red button.
Have you yet discovered the goodness that is Dunkin' Doughnuts coffee in your local grocery aisle? I first saw this on-shelf at Target a few weeks ago and thought that someone was playing a sick joke on me. I was skeptical that a major chain would never go with something as brilliant as Dunkin's coffee and instead opt for the overly burned flavor of Starbucks. I compare drinking a cup of Starbucks coffee to rimming George Hamilton. The only advantage to rimming Hamilton would be perhaps hearing some scandalous stories about Debbie Reynolds.
I can't see any advantage to Starbucks: Shitty product and you're getting raped at the register. We're paying more for our coffee than gasoline.
I ended up buying 10 bags of it, fearing they would pull it off the shelf due to slow sales, as San Antonio was one of Dunkin's markets that ended up going under. Most were replaced with the now-crappy Krispy Kreme (a company who's currently suffering from their own bad business model). I think it frightened the girl working the checkout stand, who never seemed to want to make eye contact with me and kept her hand close to the intercom in the event I went into a caffienated stroke. I think the total came to around $200 (no, not ALL from the coffee. I bought a Hannah Montana DVD too. Don't ask.)
This most recent trip to London was a really fun one, thanks to me getting to show a total first-timer the city. It brought me back to my own first visit to the UK, where I ended up totally overdosing on the West End theatre scene, marveling at the Millenium Dome and vowing to somehow make Blood Brothers work for the American audience. Some of the most entertaining things about London are also some of the most simple: Breakfasts that can stop your heart, enjoying a good book in Hyde Park, laughing at the insanely high prices of Portabello Road, furniture shopping at Harrods, going to Nando's in Earls Court for a roast chicken (and staying in Earls Court for a visit to Villa Gianni). It's a city of crevices. It's finding and exploring those crevices that make it one of the best touring towns in the world. If the human body were the world, I think London would be a comfortable ass-crack.
This trip was a little more rambunctious that I was used to, with major stops at The British, Tate Modern (which I love), London Tower, Westminster Abbey, London Eye and other cultural spots ripe for a first-time visit. I hadn't actually been to all of these places in the past, so it was interesting to see what most tourists see on their initial trip. Very enjoyable. I felt this trip was probably the most educational of all of my trips to the UK. That's a very good thing. The weather was unusually clear and mild for this time of year, making me wonder if former PM Tony Blair was truly the devil he was made out to be and had some kind of pact with Mother Nature in the past.
I caught a decent (if not a little uninspired) version of Chicago in the West End, as well as The Magic Flute at the Royal Opera House. While I can't say that 'Flute' was the most immaculate opera I'd ever seen, it was a highlight to simply sit in a house that had seen so much incredible talent over time. You could immediately feel the history surround you as soon as you sat down. Kind of like visiting The Vatican for the first time, this is one experience I'll never forget.
I got an email yesterday from a collegue, asking me if business was down due to the impending 'recession' within the US economy. I use the term recession lightly, as I think it's more about the ridiculous media feeding frenzy and the scare-machine than it actually happening. While I'm glad to see the Senate keep their focus and finally put the economic CPR bill onto Bush's desk, I'm not sure that it's exactly the answer to this whole mess. I think it's up to the American people to listen closely to the remaining candidates, sort out their platforms and forget who you want to like. This isn't about likability. It's about who can solve the clusterfuck that was the Bush administration.
But I digress... I responded to him, saying that the business model I've adopted doesn't quite function as most normal escorts do. I see a very small group of guys and all on a repeat basis, allowing me to be a little more discretionary with my schedule and time. In all honesty, I want to be as picky about the people I see as they are about me. There's nothing worse than two very different personality types, clashing for any amount of time while being stuck together and trying desperately to make it work. That's just a total waste. Through this model of thought, I've lead a life in this industry that's akin to vacation time more than anything. Sure, getting from point A to point B can be a hassle, but it always turns out to be an adventure.
I recommended to this guy that he look into changing the way he does business: Adopting an attitude of less hourly sessions and ultimately getting into longterm travel while making yourself almost an indispensable 'personal assistant' of sorts. He didn't seem to like the amount of work this would take. What he really wanted was a justification to stick to the hourly business, basically taking his money and running. I told him as much, he agreed and we moved onto talking about facial moisturizers and how the Oil of Olay Regenerist line is better than La Prairie.
I think what I found most alarming about the conversation was that he doesn't even attempt at getting to know his clientele: An hourly was just enough of his time to get the 'job' done, while never really forming any basis for connection. It's working in this industry on its most base level: Not something I ever aspired to, even in the beginning knowing that there's always a way to hop to the next level up. Why settle for making $50k when you can easily clear $200k without breaking a sweat? Why not have the want to see the world with people who enrich and enlighten your life? I don't understand under-achievers.
An alert eye let me know that in this month's issue of OUT magazine the issue of myself and Trent Lott was drudged up for the sake of entertaining the masses. How incredibly overdone. It's been, what, nearly 4 months since it was shot down and OUT is just now having one of their overtly gay columnists write a rip-off article about the 'gay escort experience.' You'd think they could pull themselves away from hyperventilating over Cher announcing her upcoming Las Vegas show just long enough to do a little fact checking. Nah, that would just be too time consuming.
And by rip-off, I mean the article was almost a idealistic replica of the piece I had written for Dan Savage's The Stranger nearly a year ago, detailing the need for more discretion in the escort world (and ultimately telling now-superstar escort Mike Jones to eat my ass). The OUT writer, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, a model of out-of-shape journalistic slackerdom went in for the kill without first knowing the facts. Frankly, anyone who hyphenates their name before the fifth husband is obviously trying just a little too hard. Clutch the pearls Joshie, you're still WeHo-riche and not-quite-ready for Central Park South.
Digging on the net just a little deeper, why am I not shocked to find that Purcell once had a promising career in... DRAG. And he's brow-beating me for MY fringe profession? Well, isn't that the Cuisinart calling the Wok trendy?
I have neither the time nor the strength to go point-for-point with Purcell on his craptastic column, but rest assured that with a fantastic client base and a good head on your shoulders, the world is your oyster. I've been to every continent on earth, have invested wisely beyond my years and continue a successful run as one of the most reliable and traveled male escorts in the world. I'm proud of that. Sure, it's not something I can boldface on my resume later in life, but thanks to some well-placed tech stock and real estate investment, it might not even be an issue. I don't worry about the future... I look forward to it.
Damon Kruezer: You're a gem among bloggers and a big thanks from 15mm for all that you put into your newly-redesigned site. Congrats on all of your recent press from Cybersocket and for always keeping the scoop one step ahead of everyone else. You've got our support (and eyes!).
Speaking of Kruezer's site... Did anyone else catch the recent Brent Corrigan pics from the Cybersocket Awards? I don't think I'm the only one saying this, but maybe it's time for Brent to keep track of his daily caloric intake. Isn't the cardinal rule of gay porn to stay in box-cover shape? Well, thanks to Photoshop, it looks like Brent (and many, many others) can remain twinky until the cows come home.
Brent Corrigan: Now doomed to eating 'Skinny Cow' products.
Also found, here's a snapshot from that same awards ceremony, featuring porn producer Michael Lucas and dragstress Jackie Beat...
I'd put money on the fact that Lucas is wearing more makeup than Beat. I just want to know where Michael is hiding the Scotch Tape lines that are pulling back his face into that windblown look.
I'm headed out again to London tomorrow, with plans to see the original West End cast of Hairspray and see if Wicked is holding up at the Apollo-Victoria without the 'star power' of original Broadway lead Idina Menzel. I'm sure it'll be just swell. I'm very much looking forward to getting a spot of breakfast at The Woolseley, maybe catching an overpriced movie and shacking up at my favorite spot in Earls Court. All I need in London is my walking shoes, an Oyster card and a VISA. Well, a custom shirt from Richard James wouldn't hurt either... Unfortunately, James's place is so close to the new Abercrombie (the ONLY one in Europe) that the scent of cheap cologne wafts into the store, making me totally ill and ruining my shopping experience. I'm in awe over how long people wait to try on gloriously overpriced A&F tee shirts: Literally, the line was well over an hour for a dressing room the last time I was there.
Abercombie and Fitch is brilliant! Evil, but brilliant.
Look for updates on Twitter while I'm in the UK, as well as a posting of EYE CANDY when I get back on Monday evening (or perhaps Tuesday afternoon, depending on if I'm able to wake up and hit an early yoga class). I'm still pissed that they're closing the Gatwick Express at the end of this year, so I'm making a push (and perhaps even wearing a rude sandwich sign in the Victoria terminal) to fly into LGW more often and take it before it shutters. It's a real shame.
Un mas: I'm gearing up for Bette Midler's opening night at Caesars, so if you're headed to Vegas and seeing the show, drop me an email. I've got the ability to get a small group into the after-party at Pure and right now, I don't have much of a group together. I'm just hoping for a few Celine Dion punchlines and the wonderful filth we all expect from Bathhouse Bette. A review will post up asap.