Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Box Of Stuff

Today's song of the day comes to us courtesy of Icona Pop. It's called "Lovers To Friends."

When I left I left some stuff. Enough stuff to fill a box. I left some of this stuff behind on purpose, and some stuff I forgot. Stuff I never wanted to see again. Stuff I left to serve as a reminder that I had once been there. Stuff I have missed ever since.

He promised to send me the box of stuff. The stuff I left behind, the stuff that I missed. The stuff was taking up space in his new life. I waited and waited but the box never came. I checked every day, and every time the mailbox was empty I couldn't help but smile. He likes to keep me around, I thought. He's not ready to let me go, why else wouldn't he send it?

Today I opened the mailbox and it was the same. Empty. I smiled again. I went up the stairs and at my door I found a box. I tore into it and saw stuff I hadn't expected to find. Stuff I gave to him. Stuff that was never mine. Seeing my name scribbled in his writing was almost enough to distract from the fact that my hopes had been dashed. He's never coming back.

Is he?


Monday, 20 February 2012

It's A Small World After All

Today's featured song comes to us courtesy of My Brightest Diamond. This is her performance of "I Have Never Loved Someone" for Blogotheque's Take Away Show series.

I'm trying to remember the saying about the six degrees of separation. Are there six degrees between each and every human on earth? Or six degrees between us all and Kevin Bacon? Anyway, it's not important because a few weeks ago I heard that thanks to the internet the number of degrees between each and every one of us has shrunk to somewhere between four and five.

As someone who grew up in a very small town (it was big news when I came home to visit for the holidays, and somehow everyone seemed to know that my dad had made a path in the snow for my car.) I am still surprised by how small the whole world really is. Maybe it's just the nature of cities like Vancouver and NYC...larger populations, sure, but still very concentrated downtown cores. You're bound to run into someone you know, or to find out you have something in common with a stranger. I have two examples.

Two years ago I was working as a sales associate at Club Monaco on Robson Street in Vancouver. While I liked the clothes and the majority of the staff, it wasn't really a job that fulfilled me. The foot traffic on Robson is very high, so creating a relationship with any one client was difficult, if not impossible. I didn't work regular hours so even if someone had wanted to come in and shop with me, it would have been difficult for us to schedule a time. However, there were occasions when I really connected with people in the store. This is the best example I can think of. A woman and her husband are attending some kind of weekend convention, and she wants a new outfit for the banquet dinner. I spent almost an hour helping her choose the best combination and we have so much fun. As she's paying for her ensemble, I ask her for her address so I can send her a little thank you card in the mail. The exchange that followed took me completely by surprise, to the point that I had to go into the staff room and cry for a little bit.

Her: Oh, actually I'm visiting from Manitoba.
Me: No way! I'm from Manitoba too. I grew up in Carman.
Her: We're from Winkler!
Her Husband: What's your last name?
Me: Owen
Her Husband: Any relation to Pat?
Me: Um, yeah - that's my dad.
Her Husband: Oh! We just bought the old farm house from him.

These people own the first 18 years of my life.

The next example happened one night at Vlada lounge in New York. My best friend Jason was visiting from Toronto and he handed his Mastercard over to the bartender who looked at it and said "Oh, you guys are from Canada? I used to live in Vancouver!" The rest of our conversation goes like this.

Me: We lived there for 4 years!
Bartender: No way, which part?
Me: Yaletown
Jason: The Rosemount isn't Yaletown.
Me: The RoseDALE, and yes it is.
Bartender: Ha, no way - my aunt and uncle live in the Rosedale! They're in #1002.

At this point my jaw hits the floor.

Me: I'm #1003. Julia is your aunt?

When I'd told Julia that I was moving to NYC she mentioned she had a nephew there and I put it aside. 'NYC is a huge city,' I thought. 'There's no way I'll run into her nephew while I'm there.' Which just goes to show you that I need to be a little less cynical and open to the infinite possibilities of the universe, or something.

Did that sound a little hippy dippy? I've been doing lots of hot yoga this month, I think it's starting to rub off on me. To be honest, I find most of it pretty pretentious and silly. I'm there for the sweat and the stretch and the work out and for a reason to wear one of my 15 speedos during the Manitoba winter. "Think of someone you love, someone you are indifferent about, and someone you hate" said my instructor last week. "Send love to them all." Fuck that, I thought. Send love to someone I hate?

Though the next class I took ended with the teacher saying "Next time you're in a long line at the store, just find this place of calmness and you'll be a much happier person." As it turned out, I ended up in a long line at Wal-Mart the next day. As I listened to the people behind me argue about which line looked shortest I decided to not let it bother me. I had nowhere to be, really...and there were only three or four people in front of me. About 3 seconds later an employee told me she'd be happy to help me at the next till over. The moment I actively decided I was ok with waiting, I didn't have to wait anymore. Fine yoga gods, maybe you have a point.

The universe works in mysterious ways.


Sunday, 29 January 2012

Born To Die

So I've decided to take my friend Braden's advice and start posting my thoughts on pop and music and other things here as well. It's something I think about a lot in my spare time...how it relates to us and how effectively pop stars are being handled/managed/promoted...etc.

Today's song is brought to you by Lana Del Rey. It's called "Dark Paradise" and for me it was one of the most immediate songs on her album, to be released this coming Tuesday.

Every once in a while in the world of music someone comes along who seems to rise meteorically overnight. Besides a certain Lady of the Gaga variety, it's hard to recall someone who has made such a name for herself in such a short time other than the lovely Lana Del Rey. The comparison between those two doesn't end there, either. Both are operating under pseudonyms (Lana's real name is Elizabeth Grant.) Both were raised by parents on the wealthier end of the spectrum, but both seem to talk about going through phases of hardship or struggle. This seems to be where a lot of the criticism for Lana stems from - that she is pretending that she once lived in a trailer park. That she didn't really struggle to get her music heard because her dad paid for her album deal. I have seen and heard many people jumping to the conclusion that she is not being authentic...and I think those people might be missing the point. I think it's very possible for people who come from those types of upbringings to want to separate themselves from their parents legacies - to go out and create something on their own terms. A friend of mine argued with me that Gaga was always really Gaga, and that the stage name is just an extension of her own artistic vision...and then went on to say that they didn't like Lana Del Rey at all because she come across as completely fake. I thought this was a bizarre argument...fine if the music isn't your style (he confessed he loved Video Games and Blue Jeans before he'd discovered that she wasn't who she claimed to be) but to dismiss her because she wanted to start fresh? I think that's completely unfair.

Lana Del Rey is obviously a character that Lizzy Grant has created. She is the pop star version of herself. Lizzy had released an album under her real name that didn't generate much buzz, so she decided to up the ante. It is rumoured (and likely) that she had collagen to make her lips fuller, to give her an old-fashioned Hollywood glamour look to match the sound of the music she wanted to make. Also not the first time a young female artist has been accused of having plastic surgery very early on in her career - as a massive Britney Spears fan, I remember the boob job rumours like they were yesterday. I was indignant then, because I knew the rumours were not true. What doctor would perform that surgery on a 17 year old girl? Why would they wait until after she'd released her first video to have her boobs done? And why do her boobs do such wonky things now if they are, in fact, implants? But in the case of Lana, I think it's almost certain that the rumours are true...and I love it. If it gets her more in character and makes her feel more like the star she wants to be, why not? On stage she comes across as extremely timid and shy and anxious - any boost to her self confidence is a good thing at this point, if you ask me.

But at the end of the day, I don't have Lana sitting here with me in my apartment. I have a copy of her album, so the music is what really matters. Say what you like about her image and her persona, but the music is almost all undeniable. The album is fantastic. She sings romantically charged sweeping orchestral ballads somehow fused with a trip hop undercurrent. It's a sound that is both completely nostalgic and strangely like nothing I've ever imagined. I've had the album on repeat for days and it is one of the most strongly assembled, sonically cohesive bodies of work that I can recall...the last time I was so throughly impressed with a (non Britney Spears) album was probably Dragonette's "Galore" back in 2007. In the iTunes era, where people can sift through and pick-and-choose the singles they want rather than purchasing entire albums, it almost seems like LPs are going the way of the 8-track. They could cease to be relevant within a few years from now. More and more artists might take the track that Robyn took last year - release an EP every few months with 4 or 5 really strong songs on it. No one can fault you for taking that approach - in the end you get the same amount of music as a fan, but you don't have to wait as long in between releases. I wouldn't mind that, because lately I've felt like many albums have been the 4 or 5 obvious singles mixed in with a bunch of filler...why bother?

So this album is a breath of fresh air. I can play it through entirely on loop and not feel the need to skip any songs (except possibly This Is What Makes Us Girls...as a boy it's difficult for me to relate, sort of.) It's almost entirely about her love of bad boys and how she's vulnerable in these relationships to a state of total melodrama - "I wish I was dead," "I will love you 'til the end of time," etc. But it all fits. The lyrics are almost all phenomenal. If this album is an ode to old Hollywood glamour, then it may as well be the soundtrack to one of those grand sweeping tearjerkers. They lyrics are often grandiose in that manner, but there are too many contemporary references for it to feel archaic. On first listen it might sound pretentious, but the lyrics are so wonderfully scripted that you find yourself relating. You feel like she's singing thoughts you've had before. Some of these thoughts are wonderfully funny and often wildly sexy at the same time, like on the title track - "Let me kiss you hard in the pouring rain - you like your girls insane?" Or on the "Bittersweet Symphony" tribute that is "National Anthem": "I'm your national anthem, god you're so handsome, take me to the Hamptons." Though the album is littered with these hopeful instances, the lyrics frequently venture into the darker aspects of her failed affairs. It's not clear how autobiographical the song "Carmen" is, but it's definitely the albums blackest spot. It seems to suggest that the subject fell into prostitution to make ends meet when she was younger. "She's only seventeen, but she walks the streets so mean" and "she doesn't mind lying to herself 'cause her liquors' top shelf."

Now let's talk about something I'm not absolutely in love with (other than "Diet Mountain Dew") - the album cover.

I get why they went with the cover they chose...it's very vintage/classic Americana inspired and they wanted something iconic. You can also see her facial features more clearly in it, which for a debut album is important - they're trying to make her a recognizable face. I, however, don't necessarily think it is an iconic album cover just because of the influences they decided on. I know iconic images can be assembled...but I don't necessarily think they went about it in the right way. Especially when she's had such stunning imagery in her other photoshoots and videos. It seems like a bit of a letdown.

What I love about the cover I'm using is that it's dramatic, romantic, and a bit morbid all at the same time. It completely embodies what the music is actually about, as opposed to what they want her to come 
across as, which I think is more important.

So, in conclusion, there is only one thing we can all be certain of: Lana Del Rey loves to make out. Kiss her hard, on her open mouth, on her fruit punch lips, in the pouring rain, or in the bright sunshine. Lean in for a big kiss in the park, in the dark, or in the blue dark.



Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Harry Potter

Every song seems to be speaking to me lately. So many lyrics I feel like I could have easily written. I suppose on some level it's comforting to know that others have found themselves where I find myself.

Monarchy - I Won't Let Go

The Nostrand Avenue stop on the A train is about a 30 minute ride from downtown Manhattan. For something to read on my daily subway trip I put all seven Harry Potter novels on my iPhone in early September. Prior to this fall I had read the series at least 10 or 15 times (before every book was released and before every movie was released) and since then I've added another three read-throughs to that list. 

It's funny - when I decided to start using iBooks the thought of downloading something that I hadn't already read never crossed my mind. I've always been a creature of habit, so maybe that shouldn't come as a surprise...but I think there is more to it than that. I don't just read Harry Potter again and again out of habit, or because it's less work than actively seeking new reading material. It's not about convenience or laziness or the fear of the unknown. The fact of the matter is that I love Harry Potter. The story still completely absorbs me every single time, even the parts that I hate to read. Each cycle through the saga shows me something I hadn't noticed before, or introduces me to a tidbit I had dismissed as being trivial. I cry fresh hot tears almost constantly toward the conclusion (speaking from experience, I don't recommend reading the end of Half-Blood Prince in a public place.) There's just something about that magical boy with the lightning bolt scar that won't let go of me.

I care about Harry. I want him to succeed, to be brave, to trust his instincts - even when he's being a complete douche (all of book 5, for example.) I'm so happy for him every time he catches the Snitch and when he winds up with the girl of his dreams. I love watching him learn and grow every time and I never really forgive Snape for being so cruel to him.

I've always had trouble letting go. I can get nostalgic over just about anything. I never like to throw stuff away, even if its been sitting neglected in a corner heap for months. Just in case I might like to examine it on a trip down memory lane someday, something which I find happens more and more frequently the older I get - therefore justifying my hoarder sensibilities.

Yesterday I told someone I was having trouble moving on and they said: "It is always good to buy books you will read after you're done with the one you are currently reading." 

But why buy new books when I've found the story that makes me happy? I've read enough books to know that nothing else could ever make me feel the same way, and I would be perfectly content reading and re-reading this series for the rest of my life. 

I see no reason to continue searching for what I've already found.


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

New Friends

Today's song of the day is "Video Games" by Lana Del Rey.

One of the first beautiful things I learned about NYC is that many places on Sunday morning offer an "unlimited booze" option with their brunch menu. Bottomless mimosas, bloody marys, and sangria - what else could a boy ask for? Perhaps maybe that their bathroom not be down a flight of stairs so I don't have to climb back up them after I excuse myself from the table to throw up? I suppose that would have been too perfect.

My best friend Jason was visiting from Toronto, and we found a little Italian place on 7th Avenue. Our table was uneven so I got under the table and put a cork under the leg to keep it from rocking back and forth. A man at a nearby table came over to say hello. It turned out that when I bent down he had seen the bright purple thong sticking out of my long johns (which I'd worn out the previous night and slept in) and decided to introduce himself. Soon after that we were joined by two random straight girls, one of whom had decided she was going to marry Jason before brunch was through. A text message I received from his fiance later in the day said "You can be our flower girl. I promise the outfits will be purple. You might just be throwing flowers in a thong - start an exercise regimen accordingly." My kind of wedding. Apparently she didn't realize what I was up to in the bathroom. It was also my kind of brunch - we made three new friends! Our new guy friend even had us over to watch the Emmy's (me) and to nap (Jason.) Somehow during the Emmy's our new friend revealed himself to be a massive creep. I'm not sure if we realized this after he randomly took off his pants but by the time he attempted to pick my nose, we were on our way out the door.

The entire weekend was a learning experience - the night before we saw the lovely Erika Jayne perform her new song at Rockit! at Crimson. Why anyone would throw size Large t-shirts at a group of gays is beyond me, but I am wearing mine right now so I can't complain (though I did have to put a belt on to give it some shape.) After that we ventured to Industry, possibly my favourite place in all of NYC, where the DJ played not one, not two, but six Britney Spears songs IN A ROW. Yes please. Once the crowd started to evaporate we went across the street to Therapy where I had a dance off with Red Shirt Guy and made another new friend outside. This guy (Kevin) was tall, dapper, and very very cute. We watched as a group of guys went into Therapy and then immediately came back out. One of these guys was shouting "why is everywhere so dead? This is New York fucking City! Not the fucking midwest!" Kevin took it upon himself to explain to me how to tell the difference between someone who has always lived in NYC and someone who has recently moved to NYC. These guys were clearly not from NYC, and they were assholes. They act like assholes because they think that's how people in NYC act. I said I thought it was a fact that NYC people were generally rude and that it made sense to act like an asshole to fit in. Kevin said "Oh, don't get me wrong - I'm a total cunt. But I'm not an asshole."

In hindsight, I'm not sure how useful that information was.

On our walk home, Jason and I came in very close contact with a rather large asshole. He came up from behind me, but instead of walking around me as he passed, he deliberately body checked my bag. Naturally, I thought he was trying to steal it so I jumped and pulled away from him. He kept walking and I realized that he was just trying to get a reaction out of me. It had worked, though my reaction was to giggle uncontrollably. He turned around, eyes bulging out of his head, and asked if I had a problem. I couldn't speak through my laughter and shock so Jason very calmly said "you startled him." This guy had clearly had a bad night. He was black and wearing a very deep V purple cardigan with nothing underneath. Obviously gay and slightly overweight, he attempted to knock Jason's pizza out of his hand before walking away, which made me laugh even harder. Again, our new friend turned around and asked what was so funny. Again, I had no answer for him but to try to suppress my urge to laugh...we let him get a bit farther ahead before I had to let out the guffaw that was building within me. This situation was completely ridiculous! How could I not laugh? Of course even from the other side of the street he heard me (my laugh is notoriously loud) and turned around for a third time. I almost decided to run but before I could he was right in front of me. This "sketchqueen," as Jason so eloquently put it the next day, was either high or suffering from roid rage. He attempted to knock the open blue Gatorade I was holding out of my hand - causing me to empty the bottle all over him. Before he could react I dashed into the street and hailed a cab. As I got in I shouted "I HOPE THAT'S DRY-CLEAN ONLY!"

I can only hope I never come face-to-face with that guy ever again. And if/when I do, hopefully he doesn't have a concealed weapon. He's probably even more furious now that it's been a few days - realizing he'll never be able to wear that cardigan again. If he's like me he doesn't have laundry facilities in his building.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I don't really like to do laundry in the first place - I own a lot of clothes that are delicate and putting them through the washer damages them, makes them change shape, makes their colours fade...etc. I like to do laundry as infrequently as possible. My mom knows this and so last week I received a text message from her that looked something like "Hope you're having a great day - do your laundry." I told her I was going to the laundromat soon and she said "Please tell me this isn't the first time you've done laundry since you moved there" so I told her it wasn't but I think we both knew it was. She knows me too well! She also knows I own enough underwear to last for a month and a half, so it's no big deal.

So I went to the laundromat. I had hoped my experience there would be enough for an entire blog post but sadly, I didn't have much luck. The elderly black man operating the place was enthusiastically watching whatever soap opera was on at full blast. He even applauded when one character told her friend "you can change your clothes and your hair, but you'll always just be a little white girl from Brooklyn." Otherwise it was devoid of much excitement. Though I did think the name of the laundromat was very appropriate.

I have been called Queen of many things, but never laundry.


Saturday, 10 September 2011


So I haven't been sticking to my goal of writing something at least every three days. Actually, it's been closer to three weeks since my last post. I feel ashamed - especially since my lovely friend Lucia (www.whereisloosh.blogspot.com) just included a link to my blog in her post. What if someone who reads her blog decided to look at mine and saw that it had been nearly a month since my last update?? They might think that nothing has been happening, when in reality nothing could be further from the truth.

We'll start with today's song - "Little Numbers" by BOY who are actually two girls.

I've been through natural disasters! One morning as I was drinking my tea the spoon in my cup started to rattle. As I have an irrational fear of all natural disasters (probably because I watched Dante's Peak and Twister as a child) I immediately sprang into action. I dove into the nearest door frame for protection...then I wondered if that was protocol for a tornado so I grabbed my iPhone and quickly Googled proper earthquake procedure. By the time my search results came back the rumbling had stopped but I had a general sense of unease. As someone who like to be in control of everything around him, the earth moving beneath my feet is unwelcome. Only days after that I relocated to my aunt & uncle's house in New Jersey for Hurricane Irene. My apartment in Brooklyn wasn't in an evacuation zone but my roomies were out of town and I didn't want to be home alone in case anything severe went down. It ended up being much less of an event than we had been lead to believe, but I suppose it was better to be overprepared than underprepared. I was without power for two days for the first time in probably my entire life and with the train back to NYC not running I was left with nothing to do but re-read the entire Harry Potter series from start to finish. I have since completed it again and it's just as enjoyable and thrilling and tearjerking as it always has been. My eyes hurt from reading the final installment on iBooks though.

That's not the only adventure I've been on! For the Labor Day long weekend I was invited to a beach house down on the Jersey shore. I set up on the beach with a bloody mary filled thermos, Harry Potter 5 and I got the worst sunburn I've had in years and years (since Harry Potter 4 came out, incidentally, when I read the entire book in a paddleboat at our cabin in Ontario.) I ate ridiculous amounts of food that was all deep fried - from pickles to Oreos. I kept an eye open for Gorilla Juice Heads...though I'm still not sure I know what they are. My cousin Ted told me they are what Snooki chases after, but I've never seen Jersey Shore. I was hoping I'd run into Snooki though, I know she has a big poof so I figured we'd get along since I am a big poof. My mom texted to ask if I'd met Snooki and I confessed I didn't actually know what she looked like...to which my mom replied "Oh, I thought she was a guy?"

I also learned that every guy from New Jersey is named Joe. There were four (well, three Joes and a Joey) at the beach house last weekend. When I returned from this weekend of binge eating and drinking I headed straight for the gayest gym in all of Chelsea on the recommendation of my roomie - the gym has thumping club music and really dim lighting and lots of cute boys in tank tops. I also got three free personal training sessions with a guy from New Jersey whose name is, you guessed it, Joe. Thank to him I can't raise my arms above my head, can't bend my knees, and am afraid to eat in case it puts any pressure on my very sore abs.

I've been auditioning! Normally I go to the open dance calls and I've even been asked to sing once or twice, which is a nice booster for my confidence since I haven't really kept up with my singing since high school. The biggest ego booster I got was from the lovely director of Naked Boys Singing. I had to sing at the first audition and then I got called back for the dance portion. Whether they thought I was a good singer or just wanted to see me naked, who can be sure? But either way - I was happy. Apparently I'll audition for anything with the word naked in the title, because the next week I found myself at an audition for a comedic play about people with foot fetishes called Big Naked Feet. I walked in and the director told me I looked like I could play Johnny and ushered me into a room with another man. He handed me the page of script I would be reading from and we started the scene with me having no idea where it was going. It ended up with me on the floor, untying this (admittedly very cute) stranger's shoe so I could rub his socked foot on my face and exclaim my love for Gold Toe socks. Hysterical. At the beginning of my second read-through my second scene partner asked if I did much theatre because he didn't recognize me...I told him it had been a while and he seemed doubtful but at the end of the scene he looked down at me on the floor and said "wow - believable." He probably thought I'm some creep who likes feet who just showed up off the street in hopes that I'd get to suck on a toe. Ew

On Thursday night I entered the ticket lottery at the off-Broadway production of Rent and my friend Kinga and I got to see the show for $25 because they pulled her name out of the bucket. We had some time before the show and she had to pick up tickets for The Lion King for another friend of hers from a teacher of hers who works for the show. I tagged along, and lucky I did! He told us that since Sunday is the 10th anniversary of September 11th the show isn't selling very well so they've all been given two comp tickets to hand out - I quickly mentioned that I had never seen the show and I'd always wanted to...so I'm seeing it for free tomorrow afternoon! Though apparently our backstage tour has to wait until a day when the threat to national security isn't so high.

My best friend Jason who lives in Toronto now came down for a weekend visit at the end of August and it was a glorious reunion. We met for dinner and decided neither of us were wear appropriate outfits for the bar so we ran to the 24/7 H&M to pick out new shoes/clothes. I was wearing my Britney Spears concert t-shirt and at Industry a guy came up to me and said "Oh yeah, I think I've heard of her. She sings and dances, right?" I said "well, she doesn't usually sing" because obviously he was joking - he loved Britney as much as I did so we went to request some more. I've done the "I'm A Slave 4 U" dance at the bar more times than I can count, but this was the first time I did it with not one, not two, not three, but FOUR other guys who all knew the routine too. I was in the middle, naturally, and they were my back-up. It was fantastic! Afterward one of my many admirers came up to me and told me he enjoyed the show and asked where I was from - I figured Graysville was too specific so I said Manitoba. His response? "What is that near?" I said "google it" and walked away.

Is it just me, or does it seem a little unfair that in grade 8 or 9 I had to learn every single state and capital and people in the US don't even know the names of the 12 provinces? Jason and I were discussing this injustice while waiting for the subway (which is surprisingly inefficient, especially after midnight) and we decided to try to name all 50 states. We got to 39 or 40 before we lost steam, but for being a little tipsy I thought we did alright. I didn't believe him that DC is a state of it's own ("It can't be a city and a state!") but Jason was right. I suppose if the shoe department of Saks can have it's own zip code, then DC can be it's own state.

Other tidbits: I dropped my iPhone and the screen shattered - the 5th avenue Apple store gave me a brand new one for free even though I originally bought it from Bell in Canada. Amazing. I went to the Museum Of Modern Art for the first time and cried while watching a video of people in prison being visited by their significant others and at a huge clear box full of pieces of paper with wishes written on them ("I wish the Beatles were still together" "I wish film school for my son, it's his dream" and "I wish I could wear a fedora.") Thursday night was Fashion's Night Out here in NYC, a kick-off for NY Fashion Week. I ended up at the Alexander Wang flagship store in SoHo for a talent show that was to be judged by celebrity judges. I've heard that before in Vancouver, and the judges end up being Peter Breeze and Rosette. Here was a very different story - the judges were Ryan Murphy (creator of Glee,) Lea Michele (plays Rachel Berry on Glee) and Anna Wintour, editor in chief at Vogue magazine.

How's that for a New York moment? All that paled in comparison to real highlight of my night - the free buffalo chicken grilled cheese sandwich I got from the Gorilla Cheese truck though. Wow. Amazing.

Thursday, 18 August 2011


Today's background music comes courtesy of Florrie - it's called "Left Too Late."

Grindr has taken over the world. It is everywhere! Originally marketed solely to iPhone users, they have now adapted the application into Android and Blackberry formats as well. If you're not sure what Grindr is (again, for any straight people that ever read this) it's essentially an app that uses your GPS location to tell other gay guys how far away from them you are. You can send messages, photos, and your exact location to other users for free. It is pretty hilarious - some people are on it ironically, but most seem to use it simply to show off their highly toned headless torso. It's gotten so big that it's even inspired a spin-off website called Douchebags Of Grindr, which essentially just calls out guys who have douchey things written in their profiles...you know like "not into Asians" or "I like my guys to act like guys - no fems" kind of stuff. The Grindr website says they are approaching a million users worldwide. So with that kind of power, it's no surprise people have decided to use Grindr as an advertising platform, telling you about events in your area.

The other day I signed on and was greeted with an ad for an event at a place called Club 39. "20 of NYC's best dancers perform in a Cabaret show every Wednesday night." I was intrigued! I had visions of gorgeous Broadway boys performing numbers from their current shows - maybe whipping out some old musical theatre standards too. I envisioned a line of sculpted dudes taking on Hey Big Spender...which, now that I think of it should probably have prepared me for what the "show" turned out to be. I brought along my friend IR (International Rhythm, he's danced all over) for company, and he was skeptical. After a yummy casual Italian meal (essentially fancy mozza sticks) we headed over to 39th street. I showed my Grindr profile at the door and received a VIP wristband then I entered the space. I found a room full of boys in their underwear - one of whom was dancing at the front on a stage barely big enough for him to stand on.

We realized quickly that this place was really a spot for men to watch the man candy (for a price.) The bar informed us we had to spend at least $50 which wasn't going to be difficult between the two of us when a beer was $9, so we started a tab. The moment we were seated on a couch we were quickly accosted by a more aggressive dancer who grabbed our heads and held them near his crotch, which happened to be at eye level. IR looked at me across the bulge in between us and said "I think I just caught hepatitis A through F." When this guy realized we weren't going to tip him for this 'service' he called me a Bad Boy and ran off. Another one, who we will call FP (Fake Package) with an obviously stuffed pair of underwear didn't wait for our permission - he stood right up on top of IR and asked if he could handle a tidal wave. IR was concerned he might drown, but FP is apparently a master of CPR. FP let (or made?) IR touch it his FP...I was later informed that it felt like he'd wrapped his penis with a grocery bag. This was at least entertaining, and earned FP a $5 bill from me.

It was an interesting spectacle to behold. Some men were obviously older, wealthier, maybe closeted, and each of them seemed to have 'their guy.' The one dancer that they looked after. The set up of the club was done very well - the lap dance area was at the back but the view was only partially obstructed so the other patrons would watch and be envious of the goings on. There were moments when I thought I could be good at this job, but then I would see the faces on these dancers - an old man hugging one from behind while he gazed off seemingly pretending to be somewhere else. One dancer even took a bill from a man and immediately walked off, not wanting to be near him any longer. Assuming the place is about making these men feel special, I don't think that man left feeling very special at all.

But I did. I think I may have met my FH (Future Husband.) He was tall, muscular, and dark. He was wearing blood red underwear that complimented his skin tone perfectly. He came over and introduced himself earlier in the night and neither of us could remember his stage name - we must have been too distracted. I was sure it started with an F (Freeze? Fleece?) and IR suggested perhaps it was some sort of spice (Oregano?) When he came back to see us again, we found out it was Flex. I was close. IR told me he thought FH was straight, so I asked - and his reply? Bi. I wondered if that was a scripted response, designed to arouse the gay man who always wants what he can't have. We watched Flex dance on the podium and he actually had rhythm, a pleasant surprise. I went up to him and offered him a few dollar bills, and when I went to walk away he leaned down and kissed me on the cheek. I told him he was beautiful, he told me I was beautiful. He came to see me again later and told me his real name (or, he said it was his real name) and explained how he had come to be here. I desperately wanted to see him in action, so IR decided to have a lap dance. (The ATM was broken, naturally, so we had to quickly run out to the bank and have pizza at a place called Hot & Crusty first...surprisingly tasty. Terrible name.)

IR's lap dance from Flex was impressive, passionate, and just plain hot. Perhaps he was more into it because he is used to doing the same to men who are generally unattractive, or perhaps he's just good at his job? He had succeeded in making me feel special. I watched voyeuristically from outside the curtain, and then the aggressive guy from earlier tried to pull me in too. I wasn't interested, I only had eyes for Flex. My jealousy was heightened when I found out IR had gotten his phone number. I hoped it was for me, but alas. I even checked the Missed Connections section on Craigslist today to see if he'd posted anything about me...it was not meant to be.

IR and I discussed the possibility of working in a place like this and decided it wouldn't be worth it. Never do something for money that you wouldn't do for free. Besides, when we went dancing at Splash afterward I demonstrated some of my newly learned stripper moves and the crotch of my shorts split front to back and side to side (the second pair of pants I have ripped this week) so maybe the less of that type of dancing I do, the better?


Then again, I guess I wouldn't be wearing pants.