Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tues. opera; Wed. drunk

Last night I went down to Lincoln Rose Theatre located in the TimeWarner mega-mall complex at Columbus Circle (they even have a Whole Foods in the basement!) to catch a performance of Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar. My friend Spano had premiered it at Tanglewood years ago, and I'd read the big bj piece on it in the Times on Sunday and decided I really needed to see it. I needed to see it so badly that I went alone. Solo opera going. Could there be anything more queer?

It was a wonderful, haunting, gorgeous, blah-de-blah...It was OPERA! For me, the jury is still out on opera. It's only the second one I've seen it live (the first being Mozart's Magic Flute which was an updated version translated into English at the Fox in Atlanta (we won't count Jerry Spring: the Opera which is really a musical dressed in opera's lamb-like clothing (although it does have valkyries))), but it's still so difficult for me to swallow.

I mean, it's the only art form that I know where melodrama and over-acting/performing is encouraged (OK, perhaps drag performance does as well but at least then it's all ironic) and no one seems to be dismayed. Dawn Upshaw was amazing and I loved the percussion (not something that you can normally say at all about this genre) and the set was actually fantabulous -- a mural that covered floor, ceiling, wings in a cubist camouflage of muted browns, golds, ochres and greens. So it was certainly well worth my time PLUS on the way in I ran into Tony Danza and later saw Barry Manilow getting pursued by a horde of snap happy photographers. (For the record I believe Danza was there to see Manilow for whatever event was going on. He didn't seem to be in the opera audience.)

Tonight I met up with a blogger friend of Nikki G's at the Web.


It was like stepping down into some early 90s mirrored dungeon -- complete with waify Asian boys, a pit-like dancefloor and even a cage for dancers to get their glow-stick groove on. It's mainly an Asian-centric bar/club and M. wanted to meet up there so that we could take advantage of the two-fers. The karaoke (sung in both English and Tagalog) was just an added bonus.

Meatcute met me there after he was through with work and soon after we decided it was time to head over to the Townhouse. I've been informed of this infamous place: The spot to go if you ever need to snag you a shugah dahddee. And, well, it's pretty on the mark. Technically it's a gay "gentleman's" bar. But unofficially there's a few hustlers hanging out and lots of older men in blazers and ties lookin to score. M. seemed to know everyone there (much like at the Web) and I remarked as much.

"Why go anywhere where I'm NOT a regular," he replied. Good point.

So we hung around for a bit. Got drunk on shots of something with kahlua mixed with other nasty liquids, sang along to some showtunes the pianist played and had quite a musical evening.

Really two very similar nights, wouldn't you say?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

pain in the neck? hunky chiro is here!

So, I've been suffering for the past week. On Tuesday I had these horrible shooting pains in the back of my head that made me dizzy. It was so bad, I had to retreat to the restroom to recover but being an hourly cog, I couldn't go home. That night I did some stretches to try to make them go away. P massaged me. Wednesday I seemed fine.

But Wednesday night, they came back with a vengeance: stiffness, pain in my neck, back, head. What was wrong with me? I haven't been in a car accident. No major trauma to the head? Nothing out of the ordinary in the least. I went to bed, lying on my back and woke up unable to move my head, unable to stretch, unable to do just about anything. I started to call around and see who had muscle relaxers on hand (my friends are like pharmacies usually and I figured there'd be some spare drug lying around that they could prescribe a la the article about young adults acting as their own pharmacists .

Then I got a call that I had a job for the afternoon. So I popped some Aleve (something I've never bought or taken) and was on my way to SoHo. I painfully fact checked this piece, moving like a robot, apologizing for my strange behavior. The pain and stiffness worsened. I had to do something.

My friend Ben mentioned a chiropractor he once frequented (and a potential date he may have with someone else from the office). I was only concerned about how to get an appointment. So I called first thing Friday morning and was there by noon.

Now I'm quite open to "alternative" medicine and treatments. I even visited an acupuncturist once with no known symptoms or complaints just cuz I knew the woman and I always wanted to see/feel what it was like to have those needles stuck in me. The fact is, I've always counted myself quite a healthy person and have not even frequented the doctor more than a few times in my life. But I've always been wary of people messing with my back. I won't even let people "pop" my back with that strange heimlich-esque thing boys like to do to one another and especially to girls -- no matter how sexual it may look. Just too much potential danger to such a precious and sensitive area to be foolin around.

Plus, chiropractors have always had a whiff of indecency or, at least, a lingering scent of commericalism and exploitation. I mean, I lived in Atlanta with Life University (and its attendant dis-accreditation and controversies) that produced all the kids who wanted to make big bucks setting up their own practices to crack people's backs for big bucks. Plus, I can see how they help back and neck problems, even probably migraines and other things with variable causes. But I don't think it's a cure-all that can alleviate diseases and major health issues as some have claimed.

But, since we're on the topic, it should be noted that I also distrust dentists, as crotchedy as that makes me sound. Since I still have never had a cavity to this day, they always seem to think up some other way to gouge me: if you don't get your jaw broken you'll have TMJ, if you don't get braces you'll have migraines, your teeth look great but if you spend $3000 you could be PERFECT. And I understand it, anyone in private practice needs to make a buck and these are basically our medical gods of entrepreneurial capitalism. They're just doing their best to make a buck.

So I visited with some trepidation; a smidge of distrust mixed with a whole lot of curiosity. The office is located in a nice building near NYU and, let's admit it, all the guys working there are pretty hot. E. brought me into one of the rooms, explained to me what he would do (with a nice vertabrae model) as I tried to nod without wincing. Then he had me lean against an upholstered table, which mechanically declined until I was lying flat. He put some pads on my back and demonstrated the different levels of electricity that would help relax my tense muscles. That was freaky. The pads cycled on my traps for about eight minutes, my muscles twitching and flopping uncontrollably but slowly, slowly relaxing. I'd tried to do this on my own with some breathing exerices, stretching and meditation to know avail. Now I was like some dead frog being zapped back to life.

After the electric therapy he began kneeding "trigger points" in my back and shoulders. Then he felt along my spine and told me to breathe in, breathe out. -- POP! -- "Congratulations. That was your first adjustment."

I have to say, I've never really had a good relationship with doctors since I never saw one more than once. Being a military child, we had free health care but that also meant you got whoever was there when you showed up. I never understood this idea of a "family doctor" being a transient and, since I never really went often enough, I never expected my docs to be much at bedside manner. But E's powerful, reassuring presence relaxed me as he told me to turn on my side, put my right leg between his legs like a vice and -- POP! -- another adjustment.

Then I was on my back and I suspected what might be coming as he massaged around my neck and began to "walk" my neck around. It stretched to an amazing position I didn't think possible with the amount of pain and stiffness I had felt and then (breathe in/breathe out) -- POPpopPOP! -- I Iet out an uncontrollable little "oooh!" There was now the other side to reckon with.

Later in the day, as I was drinking lots of water, lying in bed, ice on my neck I felt like I was feverish and a bit disoriented but by morning I could move my neck again (albeit with some major soreness), and it was time to head back down to E. for another followup adjustment. Much of the same but with a little less apprehension on my part.

He says he wants to see me 6-8 more times to finish the therapy but I'm still uninsured, which means I can't really afford the $75 it costs each time. I think I'll postpone until my insurance comes through (should be next week). But I think I'll be back. This back popping is pretty amazing -- and addictive.


How gay am I? Aquaman was my favorite of the Super Friends (because he could talk to fish, not that orange and green outfit!) and this hottie (read: William Toale) is going to play him on an upcoming Aquaman series. More quality (eyecandy) television.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

against analysis; for appetite

I probably said too much last night. But I used to be known (and good) for that. So, let's just chalk it up to rediscovering my personality that was a little bit blunted while living in a foreign country.

It was my first dinner party with P's PhD pals. A couples party. So there was the PhDers and the significant others: one an artist (pregnant), one an architect (self-employed) and me.

Dinner was great. A salad of snow pea shoots with a roasted shitake and a great dressing, followed by a pasta with spicy Italian sausage and broccolini finished off with an apple crumble with dulce de leche ice cream. But dinner conversation kept drifting to the boring (counter top treatments, kitchen finishes). Of course that meant that P and I tried to spark it up.

At one point we began discussing how D & A were living in a trailer along the river upstate and commuting down.

"A trailer trailer?" I asked. "A manufactured home?"
"Yep," D said, nonplussed.
"Not an airstream? We can count out the hipster value; nothing kitch about it?"
"No we thought it was an airstream until we got there..." and he continued on a little about how it's not so bad, quite large enough for them. Their cats love it, etc.
"Is it a single wide?"
"Oh, I grew up in a single wide. It's not so bad."

All eyes turn to me. It's one of those moments when you know that you're supposed to be a member of a certain class, a certain group, so that others feel like they can talk freely and reveal prejudices or say cute things that they would never say in front of that group if they knew they were present. You know like white people do about minorities when they're not around (it happens) or rich liberals do about people on welfare.

So I kept on, explaining how both sisters live in double-wides and P was able to experience his first and how plush they really are.
"Except hollow, step too hard and you think you'll put your foot through the floor."

And then I did something I would never have felt comfortable doing with four nearly complete strangers facing me: I gave a reductive explanation of the world.

"There are two types of people around here. Those that are born into nice things, know them and take them for granted. And then there are those that are born without knowing much of anything and they spend their time gobbling up as much as they can so they can learn what the others are talking about."

Little laughs as people try to figure out how they fit into the equation.

"I'm, of course, one of the latter. I mean I never saw real garlic or used actual olive oil until I got to college. It was all garlic salt, galic, vegetable oil."

Nods of understanding, quiet. We continued with dinner.

In fact it's an idea I've been thinking about quite a bit lately, partly sparked by an essay written in Swink called, "Against Connoisseurship," by Ginger Strand. In it she discusses how on the path from "naif to sophisticate" you lose something, when you know that there's a "right thing" to like, then you stop liking it for an intrinsic value and start "appreciating" it for its commonly understood value. That's me trying to condense a very well written essay into a couple of sentences, but really what got me was this gobbling impulse.

In the beginning, us unsophisticates know there are good things out there and we just gobble gobble gobble it all up. But eventually we get to a point where we have to start making personal value judgements. Do I like this because I'm supposed to or because I sincerely do like it? I've been facing this (especially living with an architect with an "eye" for things and a vocal voice of criticism) quite a lot lately. And in NY it's only getting worse. When you start bumping into the bigtime connoisseurs, they try to diminish you even more and even more effectively.

But then I also read an article about chefs and how well their children eat in the NYTime's Magazine. And somehow this all began to coalesce into something larger, this world of tastes and things great and small, good and not so good. But for some reason I'm beginning to own up to my humble beginnings, am open about my prior Velveeta mac & cheese passions (although I don't eat it anymore -- too scared what's actually in that "cheese) and happy to say that I want to appreciate the good things in life but still have an appetite for all that stuff that never fails to make me who I am.

Friday, January 13, 2006

week of wondering

It's not that I don't have interesting things going on (there was the coke-filled orgy last Friday), it's just that I haven't felt like sharing.

Last week was the black, black depression and life questioning -- fueled by the turn of the year, low serotonin levels, and plenty of just-visited-the-family nostalgia. Real interestin, huh?

Monday had me proofreading, something I thought I was never any good at. Not only that, but it was for Parent & Child magazine so I was making sure all the grammar was right, alignments correct for articles on bed-wetting, teasing, teaching your child math and science. At least I learned some simple, easy recipes for play dough as well as something called Oobleck that must have totally passed me by when I was a child. Now I must go out and get some flour and cornstarch and start concocting my own sculptures out of clay and descrepant matter (of course they will be naughty sculptures -- the kids haven't gotten to me that quickly). In fact, I enjoyed the proofreading (for a day) and they were impressed at my prowess with the punctuation. Who knew?

But then the rest of the week -- nada. I've redoubled my efforts, applying for a dozen jobs which resulted in one scheduled interview (for Tuesday). So, unless I go into greater detail about what trouble Ben and I got into on Friday and how I don't enjoy cocaine cuz it really limps your dick and what fun is that. (Is it just a status thing? a "it makes me feel smart and sexy" thing? cuz it's totally a boring drug to me and I really can't fathom the addiction.) Instead, this is just to let you know that I'm alive and well and will eventually have something more interesting to say.

Monday, January 02, 2006

kinky carnies and other fun to start the new year

New Year's holiday has come to be a special time for P and I since it was on New Year's day four years ago that we met. So we left Atlanta at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning so we'd have plenty of time to recover from travel and be ready for the evening. But I think both of us new somewhere back in our minds that we wouldn't be doing anything crazy that night.

It was the end of our nine day visit to my parents' house down in Valdosta, followed by catching up with Atlanta pals (which always means learning how to drink large amounts of vodka again) and attending Heidi's wedding. (I'll save all that for another post -- perhaps.)

So we didn't sleep that night, decided to stay up all night to catch our flight and that meant I was wasted all day Saturday: slept, woke, ate, slept, slept, slept...all the way until 2006. P woke me up a little after midnight to break it to me. And then I went back to sleep.

So, although I was feeling achey sick and none too in the mood, we were determined to live it up a little on Jan. 1. We already had tickets for the Saint at Large party at the newly opened Pacha New York and so we started out.

We met up with TrayB at a party and then headed over. It's a five-story (or more?) maze of dance floors and, this being a gay circuity thing, shirtless men. I found my home on the top floor -- covered in white confetti and a dj playing fun, danceable music. That's where I spent most of the night, when I wasn't running into kinky carnie performers dressed in jock straps making naughty balloon animals or dressed in clothing sewn with hundreds of stuffed animals or nearly naked boys getting out of display showers. Yes, it was that sort of party.

For me, it was one of the best parties I've attended in a while, and a great start to the new year. Now hopefully I'll be able to function at work tomorrow. Oh yeah, I still have to make money. I guess.

Sunday, January 01, 2006