Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Something happens to me whenever I sit in a darkened movie theatre and relent myself to the experience that is the cinema! If that isn't a dramatic opening line, I don't know what is, but it's the truth. Something happens to me. It always did.

I developed my passion for the cinema from my parents; both of them loved taking me and my brother to the movies, although I think I appreciated it in a way that was unique onto myself. I inherited that passion for movies from my father. It wasn't as if he had to explain it to me or anything like that -- he didn't sit me down and tell me what makes for a great movie, plot, placement, characters or shots -- he just let me play a lot. Which I did as a kid. I would create these elaborate little sets with my action figures when I was younger and plot out the most innovative sequences. Sometimes I was the director, other times the cameraman -- but always the film was a blockbuster. I never imagined things small -- I always allowed myself to dream big, which begs to differ why I seem to settle for so little sometimes in my own life.

Movies and the spectacle of a film make so many things probable in life -- you believe that a man can fly that you can go back to the future, that you should be afraid of the water and that an alien can phone home. Anything is possible within that frame of and span of 2 hours. You can save the world and you can especially fall in love! I was once told that I fall in love like in the movies. At the time that idea didn't seem like such a bad thing -- movie love is often larger than life, dramatic, wrought with passion, can be dangerous but always ends happily. What is so bad about that?

Obviously it's the fact that it's unrealistic -- people don't love like that...people don't live that! As if every moment is their last and each decision of every moment of the day can have a resonance, an impact that will last forever. If only people lived like that! I think we'd accomplish a whole lot more within the 24 hours that we're given in a day...we'd take more of our lives by the balls as opposed to let so many other things stand in our way and cause all these distractions. But life should be cinematic.

With everyone so willing to play things up nowadays for the reality tv cameras, some people's lives are almost intentionally dramatic...but not in a Casablanca kind of way and not even like a poorly developed flick of the week. It makes you sometimes wonder why we've become such a celebrity starved culture -- is it because we pay such a paltry amount of attention to our own lives in the effort to submerge ourselves int he fantasy of something that could or should be unattainable? After all celebrity is fleeting and doesn't always last forever, and for those fortunate enough to achieve fame and fortune it seems to come with it's own share of challenges or regret. Only a fortunate few are able to travel that causeway unscathed.

As I continue along the "pre-production" of my Hollywood spectacle (the budget keeps shifting, the script keeps changing -- although it's nearly locked, the studio I'm currently working with is suffering slightly financially, but I'm contractually locked it) I take heart in the fact that soon my flick will have it's premiere. Perhaps it'll be a modest film opening, not necessarily #1 opening weekend, but with good word-of-mouth it begins to gain some momentum, the critics will mostly be kind, but all agree that it's "a promising debut" which is always encouraging. It'll be a good start!

If we took more active roles as the stars of our lives, wouldn't we be living more Academy Award winning features or money-making Hollywood blockbusters?

Monday, June 28, 2010


It's a beautiful Monday morning here in NYC. The dust has settled from all the Pride hijinks and things are for all intents and purposes back to "gay normal". As I get older, that seems more and more -- normal. People often say that holidays are for children, like Christmas and Halloween are kids holidays and that you don't really live them until you see them through the eyes of a child. This may also be the case when it comes to Pride. I don't really have a gaggle of friends here in the city to hang out with and most of the people that I generally do spend time with go out of town during this holiday weekend, so the parade happens, the parties go on, the revelers drink and dance and me: I'm usually avoiding the whole thing. Not because I abhor that sort of behavior but it's something that you wanna do with a group of friends -- like New Year's.

I walked my dog Henry last night and listened to the fireworks that signal the end of the big dance on the pier. I couldn't see them but they sounded very impressive and they usually are -- they bring everyone to a stand still and it's actually quite emotional to look up at the sky and see such a display -- like the world is cheering. From my vantage point I looked at the Empire State Building bathed in lavender -- it's lit that way every year for pride -- it would be too ambitious to light it in the traditional rainbow colors I think, but I always wonder what that will look like. I listened to the fireworks dying out; Henry on his leash (Henry is terrified of fireworks) and it made me think of how much still there is left to do in order to really celebrate Gay Pride.

As gay and men and women we really don't have any other option -- we have to have pride in ourselves and we must live our lives accordingly; we have no other alternative. To some it's OK to settle on what is -- to others the plight continues for more. Because whether we realize it or not our social standing isn't on te same footing as the "regular folk". And sometimes that does make me think how sad that is -- especially here in America.

But listen -- I don't want to be a constant dark cloud on the horizon; these musings of mine aren't meant to be dismal -- I hope that they are inspiring and reflect the way I see things, the way I am experiencing things and that those experiences connect with someone else. And today the day after Gay Pride, when life in NYC is returning to normal and the party has stopped, I want all of you to know that the band is playing on.

Don't have pride one day of the year -- or one week for that matter -- have it everyday! And share it with you family, include them in your life. Make them a part of the experience and especially smile! They will thank you for it!

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I'm feeling a little nostalgic -- today I was reminded of the teenager I was circa 1987 -- and the reason for that is because as I spent the entirety of my workout rocking to Kylie Minogue's new album Aphrodite I couldn't help but reflect on her career and what has endeared her to the gay community and made her one of our more priceless icons. Perhaps you'll ask yourself why I didn't start with the principal pop icon Madonna, but as I mentioned...I was feeling nostalgic, and if all things iconic and gay will trace back to Madonna -- well then:

Circa 1987 Madonna was truly coming into her own as a pop artist. She would release her third studio album True Blue which debut the hit single "Papa Don't Preach" and controversy would ensue as religious groups abhor what they conceive is Madonna's attempt to entice America's youth to engage in pre-marrital sex that would lead to pregnancy, blah blah blah. On the radio Janet Jackson was getting "Control" and Stacey Q was giving us "Two of Hearts", but on the onset was this import act with a remake of the Carole King pop classic sung by Little Eva "Loco-Motion". That import was the spry and very young Kylie Minogue and that first single was a huge summer time hit for her and she had a few modest follow-ups, but America didn't seem ready for the least not until we couldn't get her out of our head -- years later!

I remember listening to that track -- the first one "Loco-Motion" and not being particularly impressed by it, but I would still grove to it and I will admit I wasn't the most groovy teenager -- I was very skinny and awkward and not very coordinated, so I didn't really dance all that often. Not in public anyway, but in my imagination I sold out arenas!

Kylie Minogue was one of those artists that I constantly kept my pulse on. Musically she was pushing the envelope of pop/dance and even if Americans weren't getting it, the gay underground club scene was all over it! Minogue had several modest hits "Confide In Me" and "Better the Devil You Know" that immediately endeared themselves to the gay scene, all the while her star was climbing to the stratosphere in Europe and the UK in measure that matched Madonna's own celebrity internationally! And when Kylie took her music on the road the comparisons between the two divas was always evident -- it was clear that they both were drawing inspiration from fashion and art. Madonna of course usually had more of the finances to fully realize her vision, while Minogue experimented with what she could technologically -- cut to: 2000 when she released Light Years which yielded the hit single "Spinning Around" and it's ultra-stylish music video. On the heals of that success Minogue's success would touch American soil again with the 2002 release of Fever and everybody was feeling it -- the album featured her biggest international hit "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" and it wasn't long before Kylie was once again commercially embraced by her North American audience.

But I digress: anyone can go on-line and read through Minogue's biography or check out her discography anyone can see her live concert performances on video and the spectacle that she performs -- all the while singing her heart out live!

What makes her an icon is the love that Kylie has always spread universally to her fans -- which is almost apropos that her latest release is entitled Aphrodite -- after the mythic Goddess of Love. Because truly in the pantheon of female gay icons where Madonna would without a doubt sit among them in the apparent role of Hera, Queen of the Gods for her indomitable strength, Minogue would be the inherit Aphrodite spreading joy and love where ever she goes. Kylie has also been one of the more apparent artists who has always championed equal rights and fought for those disenfranchised few that have made her such a sensation: she's never abandoned her gay fans and has always been at the front of line fighting to raise funds for those living with HIV/AIDS. She's never shirked in her responsibility to the community, and she never asked for anything in return accept our endearing admiration.

But MInogue is not without her own fierce sense of strength: she fought and won a battle with cancer which was discovered while she was on one of her tours -- it forced her to cancel the last 3 shows, which she quickly rescheduled as soon as she recovered from her treatment putting her in front of the people she loves most and doing exactly what she was born to do...entertain! And now as she prepares for world domination (yet again) Kylie appeals to those fans that have always made her a standout artist and delivers with great love and happiness some of the best music of her career. And it's that quality that has made her an icon!

After you hear Aphrodite tell me that you don't agree. This goddess of love's time has come to be embraced by everyone -- but it's true when they say that gays are the cultural taste-makers in any society. So I don't have to convince you -- Kylie knows we love her!

Friday, June 25, 2010


I'm in the midst of getting the weekend started -- which for me is catching up on my TV viewing, popping in a DVD and forcing my pooch Henry to cuddle up with me on my plush couch which has admittedly become dented in on one corner. It's very obvious where we spend most of our viewing time. The highlight of my Friday night is ordering the Grilled Shrimp special from the local Thai restaurant, which admittedly because of the oil spill disaster in the Gulf I've become nervous about eating, but I'm I going to stop eating sea food all together because of this ecological nightmare? I think not! I've very little else to root for on Friday nights.

Now I'm not bringing this up in any way to imply I require any sympathy in the matter. I am after all a creature of habit and I really do love spending time at home...with myself...all the time. I'm a very social individual but I've curiously entered that age where few of my friends and I spend our times patrolling the club scene, and even though I've reported on it and have several friends impacting that most significant part of our culture -- it's not where I spend a lot of time. Although sometimes you can't help but want to shake your ass...if you know what I mean. It's Gay Pride and summer in the city and on the onset of the biggest gay weekend of the year you would imagine that there's got to be a party somewhere to be had that I would be at attendance -- but alas no velvet rope will be sheathed at my arrival.

And that's OK. Sometimes it feels like Gay Pride is something for everyone else, or the privileged few prepared to venture out into the mobs of unsuspecting tourists expecting New Yorkers to have to deliver on the promises of a "spectacular time" when in truth, except for the mobs of people wall to wall at every local haunt it's as spectacular event as it is every single night of the week in our great metropolis, and that's not to say that Gay Pride isn't amazing in every city across the nation -- it's just that in a city like New York it's just a reason to rainbow flag the crap out of everything every where! That's about it! Fortunately some of us can afford to live proudly everyday...and we do! I know I do!

Maybe tonight I'll prepare myself and venture out for a spell. Grab a drink and get a tickle with some of the locals I usually end up running into. And if I see you say "hello" it'd be nice to share a smile.

So I'd like to welcome every one who's coming into Manhattan to share in the festivities -- I'd like to welcome them to Gay Pride NYC style! And remind them that this is just their one day, but I have to live here year round -- clean up after yourself, don't leave a miss and if you have no intentions of staying in touch, don't give out your card with your digits, your e-mail, but please do facebook -- or at least poke that special someone just as a courtesy.

It's Gay Pride after all and no one is expecting anything -- really! We'll always have New York City...or Chicago...or Miami...or San Francisco...or Los Angeles -- you get the picture!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Every summer across the nation Gay Pride is celebrated in every major city. Hundreds of revelers take to the streets for some of the largest parades and events in the country -- and in the Midwest hundreds of gay and lesbian youth quietly fight the fight for social acceptance and tolerance among a much more difficult level of adversity. I some times think that we celebrate Gay Pride for them. In New York City, the city I'm from the parade is one of the biggest tourist draws and grows every year. The most poignant moment is the moment of silence -- in memory of those individuals who started the movement with the Stonewall Riots and to honor those that have been lost to the AIDS Crisis. The former of course being one of the most pivotal moments in not just Gay History but American History, and to some it marks the beginning of the Gay Civil Rights movement. A movement that we're all still in the midst of -- and a fight that we're fighting for those frightened gay and lesbian youth in parts of the country who can't celebrate with pride!

We have become a culture that takes things for granted especially in the larger metropolitan cities, but this year I suggest that we take a couple more than just a couple of minutes to think about where we are as a community -- and how much more we need. Don't kid yourself -- in America (if you're not paying attention) you will be considered a second class citizen, unless you take the steps and measures to change this. You are responsible for your rights and currently those rights are in the hands of government -- which consists of officials we elect to safe guard our and defend our liberties as guaranteed by the Constitution. This year as we approach yet another election season take the steps that are necessary to make your voice heard and make your vote count -- otherwise what is there to celebrate?

I'm an American -- born in New York City or Cuban immigrants who know a thing or two about social injustice. I'm also gay -- but I am not a 2nd Class anything. Just ask anyone that knows me. I'm sure you're not either.

Take pride in yourself and to new levels.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Today is my mother's birthday. Or more so it would have been my mother's birthday. I lost my mother to cancer about 3 years ago. I wonder if after someone has passed on if we should still celebrate their birthday or honor their memory with the day of their passing? In my mother's case, I sort of feel obligated to acknowledge her every day of the year -- or as I used to tell her: "After all every day is Mother's Day!" And she wouldn't have had it any other way.

The loss of my mother was particular traumatic to both me and my brother -- but in very different ways I think. Without a doubt our mom had meant the world to both of us; either one of us would have taken a bullet for her, but we each had very different experiences with our mother. We had her for very different times in our lives, and mother regrettably once acknowledged that she raised me too independently. I wasn't particularly a "mama's boy" (although my brother would disagree). I didn't rely on her in the same way that my brother did.

I moved away from home in my late teens, at the suggestion of my mother. I had just come out and my mother's husband at the time (don't want to get into that) would have made my life a hell (was making my life a hell) because of my orientation. And not to mention, interestingly enough my mother -- the beautician -- didn't take it all that well. She worried of course that I had come into something that would be an intense struggle for me, and no parent wants that for their child. She also personally wrestled with the feeling that she'd been negligent in her responsibility as a mother. I always say to that: my mother did the best that she could with what she had. Most importantly I feel that she was very focused on raising me to be very independent -- I don't think she was worried about whether or not she was raising a gay child. She didn't want me to rely on exterior forces for my needs. My mother taught me to cook and take care of myself, especially to do my own laundry. She asked me always to be responsible and respectful.

My mother, unfortunately made poor choices in the men that she let into her life. My parents divorced when I was around 6, and that's a whole other story that is completely irrelevant to these musings, but one worth putting a footnote in for the memoirs someday. My brother and I were raised by our very hard-working single mom, who was doing her best to balance her life fully and raise a family. Like I said: she did her best, but had she been in relationships that were particularly healthy and supportive my mother would not have had to feel as if she'd failed me as a parent. You see -- to her it felt as if I was just giving her despot of a husband at the time more fodder to make her miserable. It had nothing to do with me, she just felt she now she had more "defending" to do.

When I came out 19 my mother suggested that it perhaps would be best that id I was going to choose to live as a gay man that I start my life on my own. So I moved out. I had the support of my entire family, so didn't move into a shack -- I had a pretty decent fist apartment for a kid my age and I had the run of it. I could do as I wanted and come and go as I pleased, and my mother didn't have to worry about what anyone thought I was doing because I was doing it under my own roof.

In those early years, we spent some time together -- she didn't adjust very well (I remember) to my living on my own. We also seemed to had taken "a break" from one another. Which was fine by me -- I had a lot of living to do and things that I was figuring out. But on occasion she'd sneak over to spend some time with me -- yes...she had to sneak to visit her gay son as her husband didn't very much approve. During that time I had begun to solidify the other family in my life, my closest friends who would encompass life-long friendships that I would still be maintaining into my adulthood. Friendships that later on my mother would admit she envied. She didn't particularly like that there were individuals out there that knew me better than she did.

My mother had it tough with me. And it's no one's fault really, but it was a constant determinant to maintain a position in each other's life. She undoubtedly loved me, but that love difficult at times, and unmanageable. We didn't always understand each other, but she was a pillar of fierce courage at times, and if she dealt me anything it was some tough love. My mother would tell you I am stubborn, hard-headed and in too many ways fiercely independent, but as I often reminded her: she raised me to be no less. I did the best I had with what I got.

And it was OK. My mother was exceptional but she was no different than anyone else's mother. Sometimes she could be too critical and judgmental, but always she was loving her hugs were from the heart. She loved her boys deeply.

Before my mother passed away we had an opportunity to spend a great amount of quality time alone. I had begged her to spend some time with me in New she came and stayed with me for 10 days. I remember picking her up at the airport; she was sitting alone in the arrivals area -- we here in New York don't usually have cars of our own and rely on public transportation. We took the subway home from the airport together and I remember how I was thinking she seemed timid about the trip, a commute that should have been familiar to her since she herself had lived in the north for sometime. Now in reflection, I wonder if it wasn't that she perhaps knew that something was amiss with her health. We spent the most quality time together during that visit than we had ever in our life; we even spent time with my Dad (who lived in Jersey at the time), and mostly we talked. One of the things that we had done that changed my perception of my mother so dramatically, was a trip to a pub that we took with my boyfriend (at the time). We spent the time eating, drinking, laughing and telling stories; me, my mom, my boyfriend and another friend that was visiting, and I remember my mother saying to me: "I missed out on all this...these moments." And she was sad.

During her visit my mother told me how proud she was of me and the man that I had become; she commented on how complete I was as my own individual and she confided that she felt guilty that she didn't have enough to do with that. I told her she had everything to do with who I was and who I am and who I would become. I am what she (and my father) made me. And I was content that she could look at me after such an embattled history and say that she was proud of me. It meant more to me than anything.

When my mom passed away, it wasn't sudden, but her fight with cancer was a losing one that claimed her in 6 months and rather than commit those last months to the difficultly of the disease she surrendered, and that was fine. She had earned that much, but mostly she trusted that her boys would be fine -- they had each other, and although each one was dramatically different from the other, we both were so much like her that she would endure. She's done her best, but nonetheless loved, honored and respected what we'd each become -- at the end of the day, what more can a mother ask for?