Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Hey-hey! It's Prom Week, y'all! At least, in the blogosphere, it is.
If you've never been to prom, or if you have good memories of high school prom, or--especially--if you have bad memories and horrible stories, come one, come all.
Check out Miss Sunshine at her 'And the Pursuit of Happiness' blog, even if just to lurk and observe. Better yet, contribute a photo or an anecdote.
"All are welcome, all are welcome" (as Mr. Gomolvilas is always quoting).
My contributions to this type of online event may be a letdown in the sense that I attended perfectly enjoyable proms. BFF Kathy was my prom date two years in a row, at the end of my senior year, and then again, right before her graduation. We have nothing but good memories (although, I should really check with her) because we both love dancing and neither of us drink. We were good kids without inhibitions.
Even the bad stuff worked in our favor. On the day of my senior prom, during school, a drug-addled student showed up on campus with a rifle and shot it into the air, underneath one of the outdoor hallways. Ceiling pieces had ricocheted and injured a few students, but not seriously. No one died. It was 1984. Our high school's shooting did not make the national news.
We did get let out of school early, though, around lunch time. What luck! We all went home joyous over the unexpected extra time to get ready for the prom. Out on our driveway, I washed my parents' 1976 Malibu Classic Chevrolet so that Kathy would have a clean carriage to ride in, at least, if not a fancy limousine. The old car's door would not shut completely on the passenger side unless you slammed the hell out of it.
Kathy(in the front seat, leaning toward the driver's side): Yeah, ready.
Kathy's pink dress was layered with swiss-dotted lace. I was in the early stages of my twenty year Purple Period, so I wore a purple bow tie and cummerbund with my otherwise all-white ensemble, including white tails, white gloves, and brand spankin' new white Capezio jazz flats (a cherished birthday gift from my Aunt Pat). Kathy covered her bare shoulders with a white wrap that was more feathery than faux fur, so we matched enough, sort of.
Kathy didn't wear too much perfume so that allergic-to-everything-me wouldn't sneeze too much when we slow danced together.
If you believe in soul mates, Kathy is the closest I'll ever get to having one, in this lifetime. We may not be meant to be married to each other, but we definitely were meant to dance together. She became a high school chemistry teacher and we continued attending proms together as chaperons. We didn't do much actual chaperoning, but dance we did. As adults, it became tradition for us to leave the school prom early and change into jeans and tee shirts so that we could continue dancing the night away at a local gay bar.
When I received Kathy's wedding invitation a few years ago, I checked the 'yes' box to RSVP, even though she had already enlisted me as her maid-of-honor (no, I did not wear a dress to her wedding). I also added a quick note at the bottom: "Are we going dancing at the usual gay bar, after the reception?"
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I can tell I'm getting old. I am so annoyed by the outgoing messages that many young people have on their mobile phones, these days, tricking you into thinking that they're actually picking up:
Oh, hey. What's up?
Oh, nuthin'. What are you doing right now?
. . . Nah, just kidding. It ain't really me. Leave a message! (beep).
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
One of my favorite memories from working at Disneyland:
Tommy (AKA 'Tammy') J. was one of the more outrageous queens that worked in the parade department as a dancer in the eighties. He was also uniquely fashionable. Considering the number of flamboyant male performers at that time, that's saying something.
I was in the employee (cast member) cafeteria, backstage, when an afternoon parade had just finished coming down Main Street. The parade performers were on a lunch break. One of the female dancers got in line and ordered a baked potato.
"Do you want a big one or a little one?" the serving lady behind the counter asked.
"I want a big one," the girl replied, just as Tommy J. walked into the cafeteria.
"Honey," he said from the doorway, "we all want a big one."
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Okay, I think I understand the hype, now. I tasted Pinkberry frozen yogurt for the first time, last night. If you live in or near New York or Los Angeles, you may not have been able to escape the buzz on the "swirly goodness," as this product is promoted.
I ordered the original flavor, small size, no toppings. First impression? More tart and tangy than I had expected, and OMG--it tastes like Calpico, my favorite childhood soft drink from Japan!
How to describe Calpico to Americans? It is a milky looking soft drink that is both kinda' dairy-esque and a little citrusy-tangy. And sweet. A homemade version might mix a little milk and a little lemonade with water and sugar. It sounds unappetizing to most of my American friends. Even Domestic Partner, who is American Born Japanese (ABJ), thinks the drink is disgusting (but he does enjoy natto--fermented soy beans, go figure).
But if you learn to like it as a kid, it can be addicting! It is also similar to Japan's yogurty drinks like Yakult. And how thrilled am I that Yakult is becoming more common and available in the states, at least, in California?
The original name of Calpico is actually Calpis, which, in Japan, is pronounced 'ka-roo-pee-soo.' So, it is understandable why marketing eventually changed the phonetic name, slightly, for English speaking customers. As American children in Japan, my siblings and I used to sit around the kitchen table and giggle after saying, "Mmm. I'm drinking Calpis!"
Pinkberry frozen yogurt does not taste like cow piss or "freezer-burnt icy cream cheese," as some naysayers have proclaimed. It is light, refreshing, tangy, and delicious. It is also rather like a Slushie version of Pocari Sweat, a Japanese version of Gatorade (can you believe some of their product names? *chortle!*).
Will I go back for more Pinkberry? Yes. I am curious to find out if the green tea flavor has the same Calpico essence. The new coffee flavor, however, does not sound as tasty if coffee flavoring is merely combined with the original tangy flavor.
Will I go back frequently? No. Starting at $2.50 for a small original flavor, and $3.50 for a small green tea or coffee flavor, not to mention almost a dollar for each topping, Pinkberry is a regular habit that I cannot afford.
It's good, but not that good. It's frozen yogurt, for Pete's sake!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
The following message is brought to you from the year 1982.
Are you in the pits with zits?
Are you in agony with acne?
If you're down in the dumps because of those tiny, red bumps, I recommend that you get new Zitzaway! Yes, Zitzaway, a completely new dimension in cleanliness!
Zitzaway has benzoyl peroxide, and new super-strength 'APP'--Anti-Pimple Power!
So, use Zitzaway to get rid of those pimples in your dimples.
Zitzaway! (batteries not included)
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
A slew of sluts has overwhelmed me and my inbox.
Don't use the word 'hump.' Or at least, don't use it in any public social networking sites, like myspace, in your profile descriptions or in your status update. It may attract an undesirable element and a lot of it.
I hardly ever get any myspace friend requests, which is just fine with me. Today, however, I have been deluged with friend requests from an assortment of myspace strumpets. And all because of the word 'hump.'
This morning, I wrote on my home page the following as my status update:
"Peter wishes hump day really was."
Then BAM! My email box was filled with friend requests from women wearing bikinis in their profile photos, despite the fact that my own profile plainly lists my orientation as gay. Coincidentally, each profile included a 'click here to see my adult profile' option. I was fooled into looking through a few of the profiles, by such names as "John" and "Jimmie."
DENY! DENY! DENY!
Hey, if they were male strumpets, I might be more willing to click on 'approved.'
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
My friend, Russell, an adjunct professor at a local university, told me about a literary salon that was looking for new writers. Based solely on his recommendation, I was invited to participate in a reading last weekend, without even having to submit any of my work.
And I got paid, lil' unpublished me. Color me incredulous!
The literary salon was held in a hillside home just off of Sunset Blvd. and La Cienega Blvd. Upon arriving, I was invited to climb the steep wooden staircase behind the house and sit in the outdoor Tea House of the August Moon. The afternoon had become unexpectedly warm, almost stifling. It was pleasant to sit in the shade of the tea house and catch a few passing breezes.
I had a clear view of the blue and green buildings of the Pacific Design Center, in West Hollywood. La Cienega Blvd. was easy to trace to the Beverly Center and beyond (I couldn't help thinking of the movie "Volcano," starring Tommy Lee Jones). I tried to imagine what the view looked like at night, sparkling with city lights.
A bright green hummingbird with a shiny scarlet breast perched in a tree nearby and made me feel even more cheerful.
The afternoon's reading opened with a few numbers performed by Dr. Roots, on his saxophone. Earlier, I was fascinated to learn that he had worked with the Nicholas Brothers. Poet Aram Saroyan read a few of his pieces, one with the optimistic directive of "Just do what you do and hope someone hears you." I appreciated his closing poem, "Autobiography," a deceptively simple recitation of the years 1943 to 2007 (his life span, so far). I felt it had powerful artistic and universal appeal in that everyone can hear a specific year and bring to mind certain images and memories of the own.
Reading before me was novelist Gabrielle Pina, author of two published novels, Bliss and Chasing Sophea. Miss Pina's writing style was strong, experienced, and interesting to listen to. She was also a very talented reader and actress. I tried not to feel too nervous about having to follow her.
I read the opening chapter of my first Young Adult novel-in-progress, Scooter Boy. I could both hear and feel the nervousness in my voice. For only my second reading, though, I wasn't as nervous as before, and knowing that helped me to relax.
I love the escapism that reading offers. I love getting lost in a good story. I tried to focus on that while reading, and just immerse myself in the combination of my own made up little world and the real life memories of my youth.
I received positive feedback from audience members under fifty, of which there were only a handful. The small crowd in attendance was comprised of Baby Boomers, mostly, some of who were also complimentary and polite in their responses. It was an interesting space, almost anachronistic. I may be forty years too late to take part in a cultural revolution or artistic renaissance (I would've been a beatnik, had I been born sooner), but I felt as if I was able to visit a nostalgic era for one warm and lovely afternoon. And I felt lucky to be able to participate. I am further humbled and honored, considering the established works and careers of the other artists.
I am also sufficiently encouraged to continue working on my present and personal literary crusade.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I have never forgotten him. I have thought about him several times in the last decade or so, especially in recent years. I have desperately been wanting to get back in touch with him. Maybe that's part of becoming middle-aged, wanting to reconnect with past loves. Perhaps it's a normal part of a mild mid-life crisis.
I regretted losing touch with Mister E, a former boyfriend from the late eighties. He was part African American and part Caucasian. He was intrigued by my Japanese and Caucasian background, and referred to our interracial identities as "combination skin."
I first saw him when he walked into the dance clothing and supplies store that I was working in, and I sold a pair of bike shorts to him. It took me a while to realize that the oh-so-attractive mulatto guy was also attracted to me. Over the course of a few short weeks, we spent some memorable time together in his apartment and on my scooter.
I didn't realize until later that Mister E was ahead of his time, as they say. He knew Joni Mitchell's music years before I discovered how much I loved her work. He was retro chic, at times, one of the first participants in the resurgence of seventies fashions before it became mainstream in the nineties. At other times, he was completely original, coming up with unique looks that included what he called "Speed Racer" eyebrows, make up that was thick, exaggerated, and cartoon-like. He moved to New York and became immersed in the cross-dressing transgender movement, meeting the Lady Bunny and RuPaul before they achieved national fame. He was aiming to create new movements as a performer, including a queer, hip-hop/boy band movement (which was not redundant, at the time). I still have a cassette tape of some original songs and recordings of his.
He was like the eighties version of a flower child to me, an updated hippie-artist and a creative nonconformist, and I loved that about him. He was the type of guy who was very pleased if you brought him daisies, which I did once.
Mister E would write poetry for me and draw his own illustrations. The ankh was one of his traditional symbols in his drawings. Years later, as a Gender Studies major in school, I often thought about a friend he had introduced me to, a pre-op male-to-female transwoman. It wasn't until after having lost contact with Mister E that I realized my own passion for feminism and women's rights, and what a perfect potential life partner I had known.
I let him go. I had met him after surviving an emotionally traumatic year as a 22-year-old, and after becoming involved in Christian therapy and ex-gay ministry.
Mister E, ironically enough, was the son of a minister and completely secure in his sexual identity. He had even told his mother about me, letting her know that I was newly struggling with my sexuality and Christian upbringing.
I regretted losing touch with him. We had last traded correspondence before email became common, before the Internet became so accessible, before cell phones, and even before pagers. I have googled his name several times, including variations of his stage name, Louis Quatorze. An online search service confirmed two of his former addresses, but no current contact information.
I haven't searched with complete effort. Part of me is worried that he may no longer be alive.
I have few regrets in life, which include not giving Mister E and myself an honest chance at being a couple. I regret letting him go, all because of Christianity and my own identity confusion.
Oh, sweet Mister E of Life I have not found you. As Janet sang on her 1993 album, "Where Are You Now, now that I'm ready to, ready to love you the way you loved me then?"
To Mister E, wherever you are, whether in this life or the next, you are always in my heart and in my memory.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Fabulous Friend Eddie thought she was an urban myth, at first. He almost choked on his own astonishment when I pointed out Angelyne in a Hollywood hotel lobby, almost twenty years ago.
One of the fun things about working in HollyWeird, nowadays, is that I still get to see Angelyne, now and then, or her conspicuous pink Corvette, at least. If you're ever on Sunset Blvd. and Argyle, grab a cuppa joe at The Coffee Bean and keep an eye out for the immaculately polished Barbie 'vette with the license plate 'ANGLYNE.'
I remember reading about Angelyne in the eighties. She claimed she was the first person to be famous for absolutely nothing. It wasn't true, but I can never remember who got first dibs on that dubious status.
I miss her Hollywood billboards. They were trashy and fabulous, in a low-budget-porn kinda' way. In the billboard photos, she was busty, big-butty, scantily clad, and she wore way too much make-up. Her teased-up bottle blond tresses were beyond trailer trash fabulous. She was reverse chic, in the eighties.
Even if Angelyne didn't rack up more than a few film credits, such as her cameo appearance in "Earth Girls are Easy" (as herself), she became firmly entrenched as a Hollywood icon in the minds of most locals, such as myself.
It takes more effort to spot an Angelyne billboard, now. The last one I saw wasn't even a photo. It was a painting which was more of an ideal representation of Angelyne than of the actual one. The girl's been around for a few decades, so it was understandable.
The local living legend is on a downhill slide and picking up speed. A recent sighting of her at The Coffee Bean confirmed that several layers of make up are still deliberately applied before appearing in public. I only saw her through her Corvette window, driver's side, so I didn't get too close of a look. The poor soul. Her skin made me think of partially melted plastic on a Barbie Doll, to whom Angelyne has compared herself. At least the surface of her Corvette is ever youthful.
And her look has remained consistent, as well, for probably the last quarter century.
She is too easy to criticize. Unkind remarks about her are easy to find online.
She is an underdog, and that's why I root for her.
Friday, April 4, 2008
Look at what Quin did!
She had my most recent blog post translated at gizoogle.com
I practically pee'd myself, trying to read this version outloud.
Okay, so here's how justificizzles works (in mah mind, at least).
I am disappointed that I didn't git ciznast in Pippin, afta mobbin' been invited ta audition n doing quite well wit tha dance combinizzle (again, in mah mind, at least), no playa how out of shape I may be, vocally puttin tha smack down.
But I am also relieved.
Really, this aging chorus giznirl is jizzle too dizzy tired ta be blunt-rollin' up her heels in rehearsals n performizzles every night, especially motherfucka an eight hour work dizzle jizzy ta have ta git up early in tha morn'n ta do it all over again, day afta day fo' real.
Just coz you still have tha ability ta do sum-m sum-m doesn't mizzle you should stizzay do it. It's waaay too early in life fo` me still, ta risk break'n a hiznip, yet sho nuff.
Noël Alumit sez maybe tha universe is frontin' me ta continue cruisin' mah book . Snoop heffner mixed with a little bit of doggy flint. I thizzay he's right. At least, I hizzle ta believe that as siznort of a consolizzles prize.
So, bizzy ta tha justificizzle pizzart. If I was so will'n ta be up late in rehearsal every nizzight n on weekends, despite how desperately exhausted it would have mizzy me feel cruisin' tha wizzle day, then I should be jizzust as will'n ta invest tha same tizzle n effort into complet'n mah first Young Adult novel (and not continue ta wizzatch tha same repeats of "Will & Grace" over n ova, every night) . Aint no L-I-M-I-to-tha-T.
But I should be more tizzy 'jizzay as' will'n n shit. The pros of messin' regular writ'n habits, versus tha ratha pathetic effort of dippin' ta keep up wit twenty-sum-m sum-m danca, include being able ta makes that attempt fizzle tha comfort of mah own hizzle n' shit. There is less travel time involved n therefizzles poser hours of sleep lost. Anotha benefit is thiznat Domestic Partna does not feel as neglected whiznen I am still in tha house, nizzight drug deala night, even if I am in anotha room. I do not have ta subject him once again ta becom'n tha Cracka Gangsta (nizzot this year, anyway).
My life is not hizzay as I have mentioned in this blog before. On most days, it is as simple as merely being grateful fo` mobbin' home in one piece, yet again, on mah brotha ride home fizzy work. My job is not hard, eitha to increase tha peace. There is almost zero stress involved . Snoop heffner mixed with a little bit of doggy flint. And as I kizzle frontin' I need ta takes advantage of tha fact thizzat mah day job leaves me wit enough energy at tha end of tha day ta wiznork on otha goals n pursue shot calla interests . Throw yo guns in the motherfuckin air.
I am convinced that I hizzle not already performed in mah last gizzy yet. I know tizzle I will git tha chance ta perform in drug deala show, eventually, whiznen tha perpetratin' is R-to-tha-izzight n motherfucka factors is all in place . I thought i told ya, nigga I'm a soldier.
But fo` now, as far as mah writ'n is concerned, more action n less rap is tha self-imposed mandate fo` this life-time procastinizzles yaba daba dizzle. Fizzy free ta hold me accountable ta that, if you is so inclined.
Word. Peace outch'all!
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Okay, so here's how justification works (in my mind, at least).
I am disappointed that I didn't get cast in Pippin, after having been invited to audition and doing quite well with the dance combination (again, in my mind, at least), no matter how out of shape I may be, vocally.
But I am also relieved.
Really, this aging chorus girl is just too damn tired to be kicking up her heels in rehearsals and performances every night, especially after an eight hour work day, just to have to get up early in the morning to do it all over again, day after day.
Just because you still have the ability to do something doesn't mean you should still do it. It's waaay too early in life for me still, to risk breaking a hip, yet.
Noël Alumit says maybe the universe is telling me to continue writing my book. I think he's right. At least, I have to believe that as sort of a consolation prize.
So, back to the justification part. If I was so willing to be up late in rehearsal every night and on weekends, despite how desperately exhausted it would have made me feel during the work day, then I should be just as willing to invest the same time and effort into completing my first Young Adult novel (and not continue to watch the same repeats of "Will & Grace" over and over, every night).
But I should be more than 'just as' willing. The pros of attempting regular writing habits, versus the rather pathetic effort of trying to keep up with twenty-something dancers, include being able to make that attempt from the comfort of my own home. There is less travel time involved and therefore, fewer hours of sleep lost. Another benefit is that Domestic Partner does not feel as neglected when I am still in the house, night after night, even if I am in another room. I do not have to subject him once again to becoming the Performer's Widower (not this year, anyway).
My life is not hard, as I have mentioned in this blog before. On most days, it is as simple as merely being grateful for getting home in one piece, yet again, on my scooter ride home from work. My job is not hard, either. There is almost zero stress involved. And as I keep saying, I need to take advantage of the fact that my day job leaves me with enough energy at the end of the day to work on other goals and pursue other interests.
I am convinced that I have not already performed in my last gig, yet. I know that I will get the chance to perform in another show, eventually, when the timing is right and other factors are all in place.
But for now, as far as my writing is concerned, more action and less talk is the self-imposed mandate for this life-time procastinator. Feel free to hold me accountable to that, if you are so inclined.