Somewhere in the ethos, somewhere in VHS tape Narnia. Somewhere in a Memorex/memory junkyard exists that videotape of me. No, not “videotape” in a Kim K. Ray J way. Mercifully, I never made a tape like that. Mainly because I could never think of why I’d want such an item. “Hey there’s nothing but reruns on. Good thing I have that old sex tape!” Yikes. No, the tape I’m discussing is the filmed evidence of the super weird, super gay, super crazy kid I’ve always been. On said tape, I can be found lip synching to Girls Just Want to Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper. From what I remember, it’s a pretty entertaining performance. I was 11-years old and had studied Lauper’s every dance move and facial expression. For 80’s kids who worshipped at the church of MTV, lip synching skills and a repertoire of dance moves were essential skills and mine are on display in this tape. You’ll just have to take my word for it. I was spectacular.
Not spectacular in the same way the icon on display in the video above is but spectacularly a kid being 100% himself. Gay, weird, creative me dancing and lip synching and genuinely not giving a shit about what people thought about me. I danced to my own drummer and usually it was in my living room to Cyndi or to this song
or this song
or this song
I didn’t need some dumb coffee cup to tell me to “dance like no one was watching.” I did it anyway. In fact, I danced, colored, played, lip synched with my whole heart, regardless of what people were watching. Simply put, I was free which is a powerful thing to type when you spent as many years as I did being alcohol’s bitch. But on that elusive video there it is evidence of my freedom and my spirit. Despite being knocked down, drugged out, battered and bruised, the free version of me was possible. The video proved it. So did the drawings, the glitter covered Christmas decorations, the crazy poems.
While that tape may no longer exist, I’m happy to report that my freedom does. Recovery has truly helped me get it back. Right now, I’m in the middle of rewrites and finishing drafts on projects and remembering that kid filled with freedom is an important thing for me. Too often it’s that voice that says, “You are not good enough! Why bother!” that keeps me out of freedom and in total paralysis. I guess what I want to say on this rainy Wednesday is that my life is better when I remember to take care of that free crazy, authentic little being inside of me. He needs to be put on the dance and given permission to spin around. So I hope you let your wild child dance today, even just for a little while. Remember what a wise woman once said, “All you need is your own imagination. So use it that’s what it’s for. Go inside, for your finest inspiration. Your dreams will open the door.”
In honor of gay pride weekend, I’m celebrating with by making some YouTube mixtapes featuring some of my favorite big gay songs. Today’s edition pays homage to the divas!
No gay mixtape would be complete without a little Barbra Streisand. Not only is she a gay icon but her own son is gay too! Go, Babs.
And speaking of gay icons. One word: CHER. ‘Nuff Said.
Donna Summer may have had a complicated relationship with the LGBT community but by the end of her life, it had healed and all we were left with was her incredible legacy of some of the best dance music ever.
Ladies and gentlemen, Grace Jones. You’re welcome!
When it comes to my happy place music, nobody fits the bill like Kylie Minogue.
Cyndi Lauper was my first gay diva as She’s So Unusual was the first record I ever bought with my own money. Here’s a vintage track from that record along with a booty shaker from her tragically underrated Take Ya to the Brink. I even saw Cyndi perform at West Hollywood Gay Pride back 2003.
To wrap it up, here’s Madonna at the peak of her powers having a holiday. Hope you do the same!
Happy Gay Pride Denver! As I’ve mentioned, I’m not big on crowds of drunk people, gay or otherwise, and seeing as I’ve been instructed by medical folk to take it easy for the next few days, I won’t be celebrating my gayness with the entire city. But that doesn’t mean I’m not proud of who I am or of the progress LGBT people have made. Quite the contrary! I love being gay and I’m in awe how far we’ve come. Music is kind of how I celebrate everything. Once upon a glitter soaked night club, I used to dj and work in a record store. I know. Very 90’s. Anyway, I thought I’d make myself a little YouTube mixtape in honor of the occasion featuring some serious gay superstars!
We’ll start you off slow with disco and lesbian icon Alicia Bridges. Please enjoy the gold lamé boots.
Do you wanna funk? Let drag pioneer and all around badass Sylvester show you how!
Best. Baseline. Ever. And oh yeah, Freddie Mercury was a pop god.
If gets any gayer than George Michael in leather, than I have yet to find it. The dance routine at 2:44 is mind-blowing, by the way.
No gay pride mix would be complete without Boy George. Holy crap. I wanted to be him so bad.
Erasure covering ABBA? Gay, gay, gay.
That should get me started and feeling festive. Tomorrow, I’ll post volume 2 which is nothing but big gay divas!
Here’s a hot tip: If you have the unique ability to treat yourself like the sludge that comes out of the sewer while pretending you’re the best thing since sliced bread, you might consider living in Los Angeles! The City of Angels is plum-full of people who act like they’re hot shit but treat themselves like actual shit. The creative types (and well, addicts) that flock to LA are masters at shining when it matters and self-mutilating when no one’s looking. So naturally I took to Los Angeles like a closeted homosexual takes to Evangelical preaching. See, in Los Angeles you don’t have to be a celebrity to feel entitled or faux-important. You just have to be next to someone awesome with amazing accomplishments to demand the same treatment they have. Your neighbor landing a sitcom, for example, is basically like you getting your own sitcom. Therefore you should get the respect, free gift baskets and prescription drugs that they do. Location is everything in LA so as long as you can see fabulous from where you are, you can convince the world you are fabulous. Even if you have to squint really hard.
Much like the dump apartments that claim to be Beverly Hills Adjacent, I was hot shit adjacent. My best friend knew that guy who directed that thing. Oh and that girl who was in that band was at the same restaurant where I had my birthday party. And I even brought burritos over to the guy who was on that show that everybody loved but got cancelled. So yeah, I was pretty important. In reality, I had my brushes with important or fabulous but I was actually just another wasted club kid who was usually on the guest list but not always invited to the after party. The accolades and fame I so desired for doing absolutely nothing, unsurprisingly, alluded me. I couldn’t understand that I actually had to write something to be a writer or that the people I knew who were successful really busted their asses and sometimes sold their souls to get there. Even Kato Kaelin had the foresight to crash in a celebrity’s guest house. Hard work, unless it involved tracking down drink specials or drug dealers, didn’t really interest me. My entitlement was also a great catalyst to keep using and drinking. I deserved to get loaded because I was fabulous or not fabulous enough or because I had a job or lost a job or because I simply wasn’t enough. So there I was on the outskirts, watching others I knew end up on TV or the bestsellers list while I waited tables and scraped change together to buy wine at Rite-Aid. Living the dream!
Thankfully there’s nothing like getting sober to shake off the wannabe celebrity disease. The humiliation, the feeling like hammered hell, the losing of all the material possessions, the asking people you don’t like for help, is enough to pull one’s entitled head out of his lazy ass. For a while anyway. I’m still me so that means some days I truly think I should get an award for cleaning my bathroom or that the entire population should applaud every time I hold the door open for someone. I mean don’t they know who I am? Now, however,when my diva moments happen, almost immediately a gentle (or not so gentle) reminder will come around and slap me across the face to tell me, “Bitch you might be fabulous but you still have a long way to go.” And I wholeheartedly agree. On both counts.
From where I stand
You are home free
The planets align so rare
There’s promise in the air
And I’m guiding you
I know. You just read those lyrics and said “Huh? WTF.” Trust me. This will all make sense. To truly understand the depth and brevity of “Magic” by Olivia Newton-John, one must first sit through the brain melting cinematic donut that is 1980’s Xanadu. Suffice it to say, “Magic” is a song of encouragement performed by Olivia’s character Kira help inspire the leading guy who never worked again to build a clandestine disco roller rink that could perhaps save all of humanity or at the very least Venice Beach. Did I mention that Kira is a Greek muse and that ELO wrote “Magic” (along with the rest of the soundtrack)? See, I told you it was all totally logical. Clearly, this inspiration is one of the guilty pleasure variety but 32 years ago today, “Magic” celebrated it’s fourth week on top of the Billboard charts cementing Olivia as one of the era’s most popular stars. And really what’s not to love?
Plus the song itself rocks. It still stands up as a great roller skating jam with weird, trippy lyrics and a thumping baseline. Granted, Tuesday, August 28th could be a depressing, inappropriately hot and uncomfortable day but I’ve decided it will be magic. Sure I might not have the gumption to build my own mystical roller disco but I can drop my crappy attitude, blast my favorite tunes and generally enjoy myself. Even if it is just for a few moments. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to turn your home office, car or kitchen into a temporary roller disco too. Remember, we have to believe we are magic and nothing will stand in our way. Now, where did I put my legwarmers?
There is a picture out there in the world of your’s truly wearing a pink sequined turtleneck under a fluffy pink fur coat. I’m wearing purple vinyl pants and I weigh about two pounds of pre-coke bloat weight and honey, I look fabulous. This was standard bar going attire and looking like Barbie’s more sparkly brother was kind of my image. There’s also a picture out there somewhere of me dressed in a tiger stripped halter top and a Farrah wig but I digress. The point is in the mid-1990s I had the look down and the cute friends and the sass to get me in for free. Like much of my sanity, these photos are lost for good. But fabulous has come back to me. Even if it isn’t covered in sequins these days.
Websters defines “fabulous” like this:
1. a : resembling or suggesting a fable : of an incredible, astonishing, or exaggerated nature <fabulous wealth>
b : wonderful, marvelous <had a fabulous time>
2: told in or based on fable
Definition 1.a struck me as particularly powerful. “Suggesting a fable like a fantasy.” It’s telling that chasing fabulous was something I did for so long when by this definition I was chasing a fable. Fascinating! The word gets more humorous when you consider that most famous fables have some sort of a lesson or moral. As I’ve mentioned maybe 60 zillion times, my life has been one big moral or learning experience or just a record breakingly long After School Special. In short, the dictionary called me out for being a delusional mess who’d rather live in a fable than reality. Guilty. (Sidebar-When I looked up ‘fabulous’ on dictionary.com, there was an ad for ‘The Five Signs of Mental Illness’ next to the definition. Wonder if one them was “pursuing fablousness”?)
Still, not all fabulous is bad, right? Google defines it as “extraordinary” and “amazingly good.” That’s how my life feels now. Living in fables and repeating the same mistakes like some sitcom character are things I try to avoid today. I have my moments of delusion naturally but on the whole I’m a lot less crazy than I used to be. The really insane thing is this: even though I spent years acting fabulous and telling people I was fabulous, I didn’t feel fabulous. I felt like shit. I wanted to kill myself. I could not possibly see a way my life could ever improve. But darn it, I was hellbent on convincing you that I was okay. Once the cat (who was actually a big drunk rabid tiger) was out of the bag, however, I couldn’t fool anyone. I wasn’t fabulous. I was fucked up and everyone knew it. And right here was when the long road back to fabulous started.
Now in 2012, my world is fabulous. It’s not of the Farrah wig wearing or pink sequined variety, though. My fabulous is more of a 1b. You know “wonderful”, “marvelous.” It’s wonderful that I can spend a weekend with my parents and not have to sneak down to the bar. It’s marvelous that I can tell the truth about when I don’t feel so great. What’s more is that there are now pictures of yours truly looking happy and not bloated and with people he loves. But for reals, if you find those other photos can you mail them to me? They’d be fabulous Facebook photos.