Mom, Rash, and Cumming. (That sounds bad.)

MOM

The Mother Unit

Long/short and without invading her privacy — not that I haven’t Tweeted her from here to queendom come already — my Mom was to have a procedure on Friday which is normally done in the doctor’s office, but because of her age, heart, and other medical concerns, it was done at the hospital.

As is always the case, she takes these things in stride. As is also always the case, we, her children, and she, end up amusing and entertaining the medical staff,and on departure we are hugging everyone. We are a family of huggers. I am, in fact, well known for my hugs both by those who have been shocked and put off by my embrace and those who yearn for my long, tight, back rubbing, soothing caresses, being enfolded in my love and light.

The outpatient surgical waiting area, complete with grand piano that plays itself. And the EVITA balcony. I wanted to, I really did, but I didn’t.

Once Mom went under, sister and I were sent out to the GORGEOUS waiting area, handed a buzzer like one gets when waiting for a table at a restaurant, and informed that the procedure would take about an hour.

Imagine my surprise when ten minutes later it started to vibrate. Imagine my horror when I went to the volunteer desk and said, “I think you buzzed the wrong buzzer, my Mom’s operation takes an hour.” And they said, “The doctor needs to speak with you right away,” and led me to the consultation room.

Short/long. She is fine. The procedure was unnecessary because the condition is a result of her aging, there is nothing to be done about it except make a few adjustments in behavior, and it is what it is.

Thank goodness I had listened to her when she’d INSISTED on getting her hair done the day before the procedure. I am less worried about the condition killing her than I am about her head exploding if her beloved Baltimore Orioles lose one more game to the Yankees she hates so much. Her screaming at the television is likely to result in burst blood vessels or a stroke. Or, maybe not, once again the medical staff each and every one did some variation of, “You are in amazing shape and health for an 89-year-old.”

She is. And it gives me hope that despite my recent medical travails, if I keep living, I’ll be able to keep living, in the way my mom, example for us all, has thrived and gone on. But speaking of my medical issues … there’s my …

RASH

My beautiful rash. I can’t even look at myself in the mirror when I take my clothes off, shower, etcetera, and I have to hide at the gym, which has DESTROYED my sauna game.

By this time tomorrow, I should finally have had the skin biopsy which has now been postponed three times, and be on the way (I hope) to solving the mystery of this ever spreading (well, it’s stopped now as everything from the neck down is covered — PLEASE don’t move up to my face), ever morphing in shape and texture, un-diagnosable (so far) or treatable rash (that is not really a rash) which has been going on since January. I will also, no doubt, have had my vasovagal syncope reaction to the numbing needles and passed out. I’ve been told the biopsy leaves only the tiniest of scars. Look, a tiny scar after months of being covered in dots and splotches seems a little thing — as long as it leads to a cure.

I need a cure, because, of late, I am also having issues with forgetfulness, a mind stutter where I seem to go offline for a few seconds, and there is joint pain, for example, this morning I can hardly move my right thumb, and I’m having chest constriction — which feels like anxiety but I don’t feel particularly anxious. Weird. I would like some answers.

But, look, I know I’m lucky. Look at my brave, amazing Mom who delivered six children, had three miscarriages, has had heart, kidney, and endless other surgeries, gets daily shots, has seen her parents, two husbands, all of her siblings, and one of her delivered children die, and  — she’s so dear — wanted to go with me tomorrow for my two-minute skin biopsy because, “I know how you feel about needles and you take me everywhere.”

I have, maybe, the greatest mother of all time.

And finally, CUMMING, of the Alan variety

Last night my dear A treated me to a night at the Kennedy Center where we saw Alan Cumming performing his Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs, which A had already seen twice — once in its original iteration at the Cafe Carlyle and another time at Strathmore Concert Hall. A is a devoted fan of Mr. Cumming. I confess I had never seen him live, ever, and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I can say with 100% sincerity, my experiencing of Alan’s one night stand was a great time.

The Carver Twins

More Carver Twins because … well, look.

I also must confess, I was a little disappointed that I did not see the Carver Twins, Charlie and Max, in the audience. I knew they were in D.C. for the climate march and I thought I’d heard they (or, at least Charlie) were going to be at the concert. If they were, they were well hidden. Alas. Although, probably fine because while I do have an undeniable appeal to young men with daddy-issues, with Alan being 52 and right there, clearly available and more than able (those pants were tight and obviously bothering him as he kept adjusting his estimable bulge), and considering my rash, why would they bother with me?

I was distracted by Mr. Cumming, though. (Aside from the bulge and its frequent adjustment.) He is a much better vocalist than I had thought and he invests each number with intense emotion, real commitment, and wraps it all up in a story, well told. And speaking of stories, his between songs patter was pretty damn glorious, near perfect. Funny, touching, interesting, shocking, moving, perfectly timed and delivered, and, too, his digs about the current state of politics and life in this country, well, they earned huge applause. His anecdotes about Stephen Sondheim, Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland, Kay Thompson, and a fellow named Raven, are hilarious.

And, it’s the way he delivers that really makes it. He has a smooth awareness of just how cute and gamine he can be before crossing over into calculated and arch. The sideways glance, the slow take, the rim-shot moments, the flirting, the outright seduction are some near-lethal combination of charming and erotic, so you feel surrendered and a little naughty.

That said, I don’t trust him. HA! He gives me the vibe of someone who wears his sensitivity as a defense of his cruelty, and I’ve tried to avoid those types in which I once specialized — their magnetism and sensual aura sucks you in and makes you part of their defense team, you fall for their vulnerability and use it as an excuse for all the horrible shit they do to you. So, no, I could NEVER give in to my lust for him — really, I couldn’t. Go ahead, Alan, test me. And, too, being shallow me, I could never have sex with him — really, I couldn’t, go ahead Alan, ASK ME — because he has too much underarm hair for me and I haven’t ever liaised with a man in his 50s. Unless one counts my nights with myself. Which, I don’t. So, Alan, there’s no hope for the two of us. I mean it. Don’t try. Seriously, you’d just get hurt but, well, if you don’t believe me, JUST ASK ME.

Now if we could get the Carver boys on board … maybe … okay, gotta run, the world isn’t going to hug itself, now is it? Love and light, dear ones.

Bargain-basement-*Balzac-blogging. SHUT-UP AND LINK!

balzac1I’m feeling testy. And I’m writing fiction, which, for me, is a journey of tangents and digressions and discursive asides and interpolations in concert with crazy-making reconsideration, re-ordering, removals and re-insertions. The rhythm, the cadence of the sentences, the shape, the syntax, the actual out-loud-silent sound of the words.

For example, I could not use in fiction the opening; “I’m feeling testy.” Not unless the speaker was someone I wanted the reader to imagine groping testicles. Because, despite the presence of the letters spelling “testy” – as in cranky and irascible and generally annoyed with the human race in whole and in all and each and every of its parts (which is the case with me, today, RIGHT DAMN NOW) – the homophonic “testes” – as in balls and gonads and reproductive organs – would play in the minds of many readers; perhaps not at the level of consciousness, but, nonetheless, THERE. And, depending on the reader, and the gender of the narrator speaking “I’m feeling testy” there would then come into play all sorts of feelings – conscious and un – about sexuality and groping and . . .  so, I could NOT start a fiction with that line unless I had a very specific character situation and impression I wished to convey. After which writing, I would worry I had been, perhaps, too subliminal about it.

Which would make me feel nuts.

You see?

coffee writeAnd because I nearly lost my shit last night (now THAT phrasing produces all variety of unpleasant visual, yes?) while trying to settle on an opening sentence/paragraph for the project I am now torturing out of myself, running from my home like a mad-person to escape my mind, my milieu of literary-purgatorial-stasis – my pen had been scribbling / crossing out / scribbling / crossing out for hours to no avail – and ending up at a nearby coffee shop, where watching the comings and goings of pretty, young, tightly-fleshed, loosely-wrapped young people from the nearby college finally gave me the “a-ha” I needed to (almost) settle on that opening, I promised myself I would limit my bargain-basement-*Balzac-ian-blogging today and KEEP WORKING.

So, less than 500 words. And lots of links. (Send coffee shop gift cards please, at the rate I’m going, I’ll need to be sitting at a Starbucks for another – oh, say – thousand years to get this short story finished. And, too, now that I know it is populated in the evenings by tightly-fleshed, loosely-wrapped college men – well, we see where this might be going.) Happy Friday.

  • coffee guycoffee guy 2coffee guy 3LINK: Great review by Peter Straub in the Washington Post of new novel, The Boy Who Drew Monsters. He compares it to Wuthering Heights and uses the phrase “all-around swellness”. Who, I ask you, could resist? CLICK HERE
  • LINK: On The Town has been revived. The son of one of its original creators talks about it in Vanity Fair. Loved, loved, loved! CLICK HERE
  • LINK: Alan Cumming, currently starring on Broadway in revival of Cabaret, has written a memoir. He talks about it, CLICK HERE.
  • LINK: Elmer Gantry, in musical version, is opening at the reliably-brilliant Signature Theatre near D.C. and they’ve posted a clip of one of Sharon Falconer’s songs. Hell, why link, I’ll insert.

  • LINK: Finally, we need to talk about dying and aging and why our fear of both is causing us to both prolong life and yet, somehow, devalue the lives and worth of those who live longer, removing dignity and choice. This from Mother Jones about Atul Gawande’s book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. CLICK HERE

*Balzac? Really? Because, in my still-unsold-un-agented-and being cut again novel – there is an episode not unlike one from my misspent twenties in which I said one night, under another mirror ball, “All I want is a guy who doesn’t giggle when I mention Balzac.” So, again with the confusions about testicles and such. Argh.

I OBJECT(ify)! . . . Maks and Val . . . and Alan

I confess to an unhealthy obsession with Dancing With The Stars. In past seasons this could be almost wholly attributed to my even more unhealthy obsession with Derek Hough as documented in past entries in this blog. This season, however, it was the new and improved Maks Chmerkovskiy, or, rather, the newly revealed and emotionally vulnerable Maks Chmerkovskiy, made into a teary, sweet, little-boy teddy bear by his partner, Olympic Champion, Meryl Davis, over whom I obsessed and for whom I obsessively voted.

And about whom I fantasized. I’ve always had a thing for Slavic men. And Maks and his brother, Val, well, I know I ought to be deeper than this but …

Maks-and-Val-Chmerkovskiy-clip

I think in this case a little objectification is not so wrong. The GIF came from here, at Entertainment Weekly.I would like to heartily thank them for starting my weekend off with a bang bang while, sadly, providing the answer to Mr. Sondheim’s question:

Does anyone still wear a hat?

Well, unfortunately, yes.

I suppose there are those of you who would say Maks (and Val) were too young for me. Okay. And I suppose there are those of you who would say I am too musical theatre-y for them. Well, okay, so, then, here, Alan Cumming last night getting ready backstage Broadway for Cabaret.

Cumming, Alan Cabaret

Wilkommen, indeed. And we’re within five years of one another. Alas, he already has a husband. Oh well, I’ve given up on men anyway. Which is sort of like saying, I’ve given up on ascending to the throne. I was never in the line of succession anyway.

P.S. AND ANOTHER PLEADING . . . Have you visited my PLEDGE PAGE (CLICK HERE!) for the 2014 RIDE TO CONQUER CANCER? I’m biking 150 miles in two days (I hope) in order to raise funds for a very good cause. Read all about it HERE. Thanks! AND SPECIAL THANKS to Amy Benton (of AMY BENTON PR – click HERE) and Tom Chase for their donation, and The Curious Iguana (click HERE) for theirs — I have the best friends, and some of them own P.R. Firms and Bookstores!

 

… zeit-bites saturday … bad movies my ass BuzzFeed …

So, BuzzFeed has listed 28 Bad Movies To Watch With Your Gay Friends (click it to read) and I am totally fucking offended and appalled.

BAD? BAD MOVIES? You DARE to call “Valley of the Dolls” and “Burlesque” BAD?

SPARKLE NEELY SPARKLE

Fuck you, BuzzFeed. Patty Duke should have won an Oscar for her portrayal of Neely O’Hara. She has been my role model throughout my entire life. I have emulated the faux Garland-esque style of Miss Duke/O’Hara, ever since I was a youngster and saw this work of cinematic genius adapted from an equally BRILLIANT literary tour de force by the Proust of our times – Miss Jacqueline Susann – which I also read before the age of ten. This explains a great deal I think – that I read Miss Jacqueline Susann’s oeuvre prior to puberty – and too, “Diary of a Mad Housewife” and “Portnoy’s Complaint” the reading of which coincided with my first episode of chafed penis but that’s a story for another time. Where was I? Oh, right, “Valley of the Dolls” – IT IS NOT A BAD MOVIE. It is genius. And in addition to Patty, there is Miss Barbara Parkins – of “Peyton Place” and endless ABC Movies of the Week fame. And Sharon Tate. I mean – SHARON FUCKING TATE! And Lee Grant. AND IF THAT ISN’T ENOUGH: SUSAN HAYWARD. Okay? Susan “I’m A Lesbian but Will Never Come Out Just Like Barbara Stanwyck” Hayward – doing an Ethel Merman impersonation?  THIS MOVIE IS BRILL! Look!

AND THIS?

The number of times I have played this scene. Please. BAD MOVIE? I think not.

And, while not in the same class as the classic “Dolls” – you, BuzzFeed, dare to denigrate “Burlesque”? Uhm: CHER? ALAN CUMMING? STANLEY PLEASE LET ME SUCK EVERY INCH OF YOUR PERFECTION TUCCI? And DEREK PLEASE STOP STALKING ME (more on that later) HOUGH’s sister (her name escapes me – she matters not except that she is HIS sister) Are you freaking crazy? Look!

Oh no you di’n’t!

Christina isn’t bad either. But she’s not YET a Gaycon. Pretty fucking close though.

So, reading this article made me think of all the times I have watched these movies and all the people I have forced to watch them with me. I went to see “Burlesque” six times with six different people. That’s a lie. I went with four different people. I went alone twice. So what? And I own the DVDs of both. And how many evenings have I spent forcing – I mean – SHARING “Valley of the Dolls” with gays in training? You do NOT want to know. BUT EVERYONE WHO I HAVE MADE WATCH THESE MOVIES SHOULD BE THANKING ME FOR CHANGING THEIR DULL BORING MISERABLE YOU WERE CLEARLY MISSING SOMETHING LIVES. Even the gays in training who turned out to be not. Or, rather, especially those who turned out to be – not quite gay – but definitely DICKS.

I am a good gay. No doubt. I just look bad from the outside. Sort of. That’s not exactly what I meant. ALTHOUGH, speaking of – any aspiring authors out there who think getting rejected by Literary Agents (I capitalize so if one is reading she will understand just how much I HONOR and FEAR the breed) is rough – you should try being a gay over 40 – I MEAN – 30 – and trying to hook up with people – I MEAN – meet people via social media forums. FUCKING BRUTAL. Or, rather, more like – brutal NON-FUCKING.

HOWEVER – on a positive note – and I am definitely Pollyanna – yesterday I came out of the place where I get my hair cut and there’s a note on my windshield. In a delightful change of pace from the written communications I usually receive (see above lengthy aside comparing Lit Agents to social media gay-ups) which are along the lines of “YOU ARE NOT FOR ME” – referring either to my prose or my penis – THIS NOTE SAID: “Your left rear tire is dangerously low on air and you should do something about it right away. Love, a friend who cares about you.”

Wow. Obviously a friend I don’t know. Because NONE of my friends would notice a tire low on air. I just put air in my tires a week ago. And this one was dangerously low. I need new tires. Which I cannot under any circumstances afford. I haven’t even been able to pay my parking ticket. BUT – Tuesday November 26 this will all change when the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol shows up at my door. Well, not my door, cause I’ll be house/pet sitting – HOLY SHIT – WHAT IF THEY CAN’T FIND ME? How will I ever pay off my now shut-down credit cards and auto insurance and buy all the office supplies and ink I need from Office Depot and start buying from AMAZON again (they sent me a “we miss you” card last week) and . . .

hough derek runShit – hold on – GPS. If I can find the tricks  – I MEAN – places I’ve found with my GPS, surely PCH PRIZE PATROL can find me? Right? RIGHT? I mean, Derek Hough doesn’t seem to have any trouble keeping up with me – and really, Derek, this is getting embarrassing – I’m old enough to be your – well, DADDY!

Gotta run. Amber and Derek’s finale dance isn’t gonna choreograph itself.