Culture: September 2002 Archives

I'm not normally awake at this hour, but I couldn't sleep. Forgive the incoherence.

We saw "Take Me Out" -- yes the gay baseball play -- at the Public Theater yesterday afternoon. I didn't it expect it to be so good. It's a great play, and this is coming from someone who could not care less about baseball. It took me a little while to get used to the idea of baseball players with such vocabularies, but I got over it. I think Joe Mantello as the director really "nailed" the play, and the cast is excellent. The John Rocker-type character is, in a lot of ways, the most interesting character in the play. How much leeway do we give damaged people to be... awful? Yes, there's male nudity in it, and the cast is attractive, but that's not really the reason to see the play. If anything, it's a bit distracting from what is a good text. I have to single out Denis O'Hare as the gay player's money manager -- he knew how to "own" the stage during his several monologues.

I really recommend it. If James, who doesn't even know how to pronounce Derek Jeter's last name, loved it, excusing yourself from attending because "you don't like baseball" doesn't make sense.

There were two women sitting next to us. One was like us -- not interested in baseball, but interested in theater. (I can never decide when to use theatre vs. theater.) Her friend was a total baseball fanatic -- someone who, when visiting another city, goes to visit stadiums just to see them whether there's a game or not. One of the two women complimented James on his (slash) No War button, and he gave her one to wear. The other one said, "I would wear the opposite -- nuke em' all!" Is anyone out there surprised when I tell you that the baseball fanatic was the "nuke 'em" lady?

We separated to run errands as we walked home. I dropped by The Strand on my way home. For someone like me, who finds brains sexier than brawn, the Strand is the hottest spot in the city. So many smart, attractive men, looking at books, looking at each other, looking at books...

As I walked home up Fifth Avenue, I spotted Amanda Lepore in a torn cut-off t-shirt and shorts. Wow -- I've never seen her in daylight before.

Once I got to Chelsea, the burning question in my mind became: Why do gay men who are kind of... lumpen feel the need to wear sunglasses that really only work on someone like David Beckham?

Kiki and Herb at the Knitting Factory

Kiki and Herb at the Knitting Factory

Earlier in the evening we (James and I -- he has more photos) saw Kiki and Herb at the Knitting Factory with Glenn, Dan and a few of their friends. Oh my heavens! Why didn't someone drag me to see them earlier? I LOVE THEM.

As I told Glenn, I think our drag sisters have MUCH better politics than the gay community in general. They can't really buy into the "but if I act like a straight white middle class male I'll be OK" version of gay politics. (I thought about linking Andrew Sullivan in that sentence, but I couldn't bring myself to sully my web site with a link to that miserable excuse for a pundit.)

Where to begin? As Dan said, it's certainly not what comes to mind when one says "drag act" -- it's much more of a brilliant piece of theatre by two very talented people. Kiki's politics are great, and political theatre that works is my favorite thing in the world. She hit on 9/11, the idiocy of Bush, his illegitimacy, our obsessions with kidnapped children, and probably some things I didn't even catch in the whirling chaos that is Kiki and Herb.

Favorite excerpts included:

Shitty things happen sometimes, but that's not an excuse to do more shitty things.

After a song in which she says she's tired of crying for victims of this or that, she says: because crying doesn't change anything.

After she talked about the shitty things that happen in the world, and about the idiot that passes for our President, and received a lot of applause, she said she was glad to hear that she's not alone, and when they round all of us up, she's glad she will be with people like us at Guantanamo.

The opening act, of whom I had also heard, but never seen, was The Wau Wau Sisters. They ROCKED. I feel like such a scrawny wimp -- they both had bods of death. They gave us rockin' songs, hilarious repartee, and acrobatics! We bought the CD!

Heard on the way out of the Knitting Factory, from an Ani di Franco-type young woman: "I'm wearing my new sweatshop free panties!"

It was a bit warm, so rather than wear something fabulous as my hero would have done, I attended a few openings dressed in my art uniform of shorts and an MTA shirt.

Our first visit was to see Ann Craven [images] at Klemens Gasser, which apparently doesn't have a web site. She makes beautiful, not quite real, paintings of birds and flowers -- like greeting cards only better. We had to go check it out since we acquired a watercolor of hers at Bellwether's party. Oh -- here's a page that shows a photo that was in the back, and gives the gallery address.

The second opening was Andrew Guenther at Silverstein Gallery -- great show! There's a wall of beautiful-and-political-at-the-same-time drawings and watercolors, some of his paintings, some works by guest artists (indicated by big stars on the wall above), and most fun of all, a (moving) sculpture that "is made up of a custom made coffin, built by the artist to fit his individual proportions, mounted on top of a mechanical rodeo bull. " Not surprisingly, the crowd at this opening was much more cool. The gay boys were skinny and geeky, not the posey-muscley kind I saw at the other opening.

As we left, people were getting ice cream (to go with their beer) from the truck outside -- playing that damn "Turkey in the Straw" rendition.

I'm so glad the summer art lull is over!

The Australian National Library is adding internet porn to its collection.

The project is aimed at providing material for future social historians, not patrons with bad Google skills.

"The examination of society and culture of a period by necessity involves the study of its sexual life," he wrote in the library's newsletter.

"With this in mind, it is clear that there is no merit in being coy today and therefore delivering an incomplete picture to future researchers."

He cited the usefulness to historians of Victorian pornographic diaries and novels as proof of the importance of collecting contemporary erotica.

For those that are interested, someone just told me about the gaytheatre mailing list. There seem to be a number of NYers on the list.

Schroeder Romero, one of my favorite Williamsburg Galleries, has launched its new web site. Check it out!

This page is an archive of entries in the Culture category from September 2002.

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