Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Finally, A True America!

The video is finally finished. It took me about 15 hours of editing and 5 hours of shooting, all for a clip that is almost 6 minutes long. I think it turned out pretty well, though I'm sure I could continue perfecting it for hours. You be the judge though.

Monday, August 25, 2008


I got a massage this morning. It was my second one ever, so don't think I typically pamper myself. I couldn't afford it. But I felt I needed to treat myself to something that would relieve some stress.

You see, I've been freaking out because it is now literally one week away from my move, and it feels like I've done nothing to pack, despite the fact that I'm almost completely packed. The issue is I have no stuff, so I keep looking at my pile of belongings and wondering what the hell I've been doing with my life. Literally all that I own could fit into a closet. It's kind of sad. Do I just throw things away or do I just not buy anything? And if I haven't bought anything, how in the hell have I been surviving?

But back to the massage...it was at Sir Spa, the mens-only spa up in A-ville. It's not a bathhouse, so there are no happy endings (pervs!). It's just a really nice, upscale spa, complete with a steamroom, amazing waterfall showers and a relaxation room full of magazines like Men's Journal and Men's Health and whatever else us gay men read. I highly recommend it to everyone (excpet for girls). I feel absolutely amazing and crappy right now. Amazing because my muscles are actually relaxed. Crappy because all the toxins my body had been storing were released, and it feels like I was on an all-night bender. Oh wait...

I was basically on a late-night bender last night. My life as of late has been weird. Very weird. I'm considering making a new blog to describe the weirdness in full since my mom knows about this one. That or I'm going to make a video blog that depicts me with a series of sock puppets to represent the various characters that have been floating in and out of my life as of late.

And all this is adding to the stress. My lack of routine, the move, my work...it's driving me crazy. And I feel like I continue to have less time for friends, and lately I've had little motivation for comedy (although that could be due to the fact that I just finished editing a movie I co-wrote and directed, a process which took well over 15 hours). But I skipped my first improv class of the new session yesterday, something I would never do. I woke up and wanted to go on a bike ride. And I didn't want anything to interfere with that. So I told myself that if I made it back in time I'd go to class. I ended up riding for about 40 miles, a total of about 2.5-3 hours of riding. Suffice it to say, I missed class. But the strangest thing is I don't care. And that kind of scares me.

I don't think that I'm losing interest in comedy. I think I'm just beginning to realize what it is with comedy that I want to do. I love making movies, I love my sketch group, I'm very excited about the show I got cast in. I think it's the combination of stress and ennui for the current improv program I'm in that is causing me to flake. At least that's what I hope.

God, I need another massage.

Friday, August 22, 2008


I have been on a huge ELO kick lately.

For years I've always wanted to own an ELO album. My first real exposure to them was in Richardson when I was in High School. My hometown has an annual music festival and for some inexplicable reason (I'm assuming they were outright lied to) ELO played there. I didn't know much about them at the time, so I wasn't expecting much. But when I heard them play, I instantly fell in love with them.

The rich melodies, the layered harmonics, the string - oh the strings! - I just wanted to implant their albums in my head.

In college, when I was a radio DJ for the university's radio station, I played ELO every other show. Despite being focused on indie music, the station had a lot of classic records, including a double album of ELO's greatest hits. Telephone Line and Turn to Stone were my favorites. So in between the usual esoteric albums like Chainsaw Kittens and Brian Eno, I'd play ELO.

For six years I wanted to buy an ELO album. For some reason I never let myself do it. Until the other day when I was realized it would cost me about $10 to buy their greatest hits off of iTunes. And in a moment of self-indulgence, I bought it. And I've been listening to it non-stop ever since.

Below is my song-by-song write-up of some of ELO's best music.

1. Shine a Little Love - The galloping drums move this song right along. The rockin' bass gives it a disco tinge. The chorus is BeeGee's-esq, the intermittent strings color the song with that ELO feel and the hand clap is just plain silly and cute. I could definitely see myself doing coke at a roller rink to this song.

2. Don't Bring Me Down - The whole song is basically sung with a big echo filter, giving the vocals a much more powerful feel. Combined with the crunchy guitars, this song is actually reminicent of Roxy Music. However, it's also the kind of song you only listen to in your car with the windows rolled up for fear of embarassment.

3. Evil Woman - Although I can't relate to this song, (Evil Ma-an) doesn't have the same ring. But the piano riff and the bluesy melody gives the song a dark and bitter feel. But it never verges on sad thanks to the chorus which swells into falsetto. It's not my favorite song because of its overly simplistic instrumentation, but if I had a girlfriend that broke my heart, I'd listen to this while burning all my photos of her.

4. Can't Get It Out Of My Head - So sad, so lovely, so ga ga ga ga gorgeous. The swelling strings, the French Horn, the choral background. It's a masterpiece. I want to fall in love listening to this song. Or if that's not going to happen, I want to personify this song and make sweet, tender love to it. Sweet, sweet audio love.

5. Mr. Blue Sky - This song makes me have orgasms in my ears (are headphones my condoms?). The punchy melody, the cowbell, the strangely sung vocals, the chorus (which progresses from deep, to mid, to falsetto vocals) is so aesthetically amazing. I could do without the robot voice, but it was the 1970s so they were just showing off that they had a robot (Styx had one too). I listen to this song when I'm sad, it's raining, my bike is broken or because I still have a pulse and no carbon-based creature could resist this.

6. Strange Magic - I wish I could go into a time machine and go to a prom in the 1970s just so I could slow dance to this song. There's not much to it. And it's kind of reptitive, but that makes it the perfect prom song. You don't have to think about what dance move you're going to do next. You just hold on and waddle back and forth together, maybe the occasional twirl. Perfect!

7. Turn To Stone - One of the best songs ever made. You get gallopping drums and a running bass; solo vocals with call-and-response lush harmonies. If I was the Flash from DC Comic book fame, this is the song I would play on my iPod as I ran around saving the world.

8. Sweet Talkin' Woman - This song isn't one of my favorites. I do like the renaissance-sounding intro, the head bouncing tempo, the call-and-response vocals (which ELO loves). I listen to this when I burn out on my favorites.

9. Telephone Line - We've all been there. Calling someone we love who used to love us only to get no answer. "Pick up! Pick up!" You say. But what good does it do. You're just yelling at a telephone. This song is the perfect song to play in the background while making a drunk dial. Because then the next morning you can just say, "Oh that! I was joking. It was a joke. Obviously. Ha. A joke...Why won't you love me!"

10. Livin' Thing - Bouncy and happy as usual, this song is ELO's "I Will Survive," at least that's how I like to think of it. Happiness and saddness, they're livin' things. Such wisdom ELO. Such wisdom.

11. Do Ya - Not one of my favorites. A little to stadium rock for me. And the chorus is gayer than all get out, which says a lot coming from me. But it's got its time and place.

12. Showdown - Funky intro with some great strings. It's got a "Heard It Through the Grapevine" vibe to it. Still not one of my favorites, but it is a nice break from the usual string-laced melodies that can get a little reptitive after a while.

13. and 14. Rock and Roll is King & Hold on Tight - Everyone makes a clunker or two. These are two.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It's Complicated

Love is complicated. Sex is complicated. Gay love and gay sex are very complicated. Especially when you try to explain them to straight people.

I don't like sounding elitist, and I hate the notion that somehow gay people are different than straight people. But I'm beginning to realize that gay love and gay sex are pretty different than the hetero versions.

I'm not talking about the obvious elements (two people of the same gender, we use our butts a lot more, etc.). I'm talking about rules, boundaries and dynamics.

But before I launch into my observations, let me preface the rest of this post with something. I think everyone knows Matt and I are broken up. And it isn't like all the other times we've broken up. This one is for real. I'm moving out, I'm getting the cat and we're free to do what we want with other people. I've totally been taking advantage of this last point, and I have to say I feel freer than I have in years. Like some kind of coming-of-age mid 90s gay drama, my independence, sense of self and sexuality are blossoming. And it's totally awesome. You have to remember, Matt and I were together for 4.5 years. I was with him since I was 22. Before that, I had only been out for about three years and dated sparingly since I was living in mid-Missouri, not really the hotbed for hot guys to get into bed with. Now I'm fully realizing the potential that being single and in my 20s has, and it doesn't hurt that I'm quite possibly in the best physical shape of my life.

So anyway, gay love/sex is different. With Matt, we were always trying to wedge our relationship into some sort of heteronormative model that really just doesn't work. We tried to be monogamous (and when we weren't, it was always during a rough patch between us rather than a time when things were really solid. Big mistake). We tried to be domesticated, loving and caring in all the ways we thought we were supposed to because that's what movies, television and our parents had told us for years. But we weren't Ozzy and Harriett, and we never were going to be.

I need fluidity, and I think a lot of gay men do as well. At Market Days this year, I hung out with a couple. They're married...like legally married (they're from Boston). But they openly show affection for other people and bring guys into the bedroom occasionally. But they're completely in love with one another. Another guy I know (I'll call him Shiv), is polyamorous, meaning he has loving relationships with multiple guys. I don't think either scenario is right for everybody, but I think both are reflective of how gay men find ways of making relationships work for them.

I think a lot of straight people would probably benefit from these models. However, the added threat of pregnancy makes things a little trickier (you have a kid with someone else and then there's legal trouble there for ya). Still, I don't think gay men should be judged for their openness to show affection for one another. We can love, still. We just choose to do it in a different way.