In the Ghaytto
Recently, I have begun to take walks in the city. It's the rainy season and I can't stand the rain, which, if you have ever lived in Paris for any length of time, you've grown to hate. At the slightest sign of a break in the clouds I put on my overcoat and step out into the California winter haze. I leave the umbrella behind, a willful thought and hope for the best; and damn the consequences. Today I walked straight down Market, from my house on Castro, without even stopping for gay porn, on the way. So as I said, down Market and onward to the feces district (the Tenderlaid, that would be between 6th and 7th street). Onward.....and by Bloomingdales, by the make up counter ladies taking languorous cigarette breaks, trying not to plant face from all those samplers they've meticulously applied to their faces; passed Old Navy, thru the Metreon and into the light, where there it is, the: Museum of Modern Art, all brick and mortar and eighties fugliest. Into the lobby where monitors rudely remind me that I should not be loitering here any more than those poorly covered feces I recently passed on 7th and Market. My way of saying, 'I've seen this shit before and even wrote about it. So what to do? I did not plan ahead nor did I consult the internet before I left!
So, I bowed to the inevitable and quickly retraced my steps to reluctantly open the door to da YBCA, or Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, as it is also known to the verbosely minded. (BTW, for yall hippies out there, Yerba Buena (Clinopodium douglasii) is a sprawling aromatic herb of western and northwestern North America, ranging from maritime Alaska southwards to Baja California Sur, and NOT what you imagined it to be).
Apparently the YBCA, in a thinly disguised attempt at placating the flower child community into driving East, from Berkeley, North from Willits and South from Venice, is now featuring some half baked exhibit curated to venerate his holiness, the 'Dalai Lama". Don't get me wrong, I love the Dalai Lama and he is certainly worth a walk down market street but besides what I think about him, the show is an unmitigated piece of shit. Enough said, but despite what I think, at least you get to live vicariously through me, and experience, for a brief moment, what it's like to live here, in this soiled City by the Bay.
So, I perfunctorily went thru this display, cursing my fate, invisibly mumbling words so rich in sexual degradation as it would shame me to repeat them here, with impunity..... when at the corner of my eyes, what do I see; a side chapel, a votive assembly, right there in front of me, a notebook, left by one of the artists, to share your thoughts and feelings with the him and the community; " Bingo! bitches!", I exclaimed, "tis not in vain that I ambulate....!"
Here you go, excerpts, with my comments (apparently nasty, I hear, DL:). From the book of life, at the YBCA. Actual comments from visitors, regular folks, like you and me, carefully noted:
"We are the cusp of great AWAKENING". DL: Personally, I was thinking pandemic...
"Let peace and love prevail all over the world. Let all people love each other beyond borders. Fight for humanity and not for land and religion." DL: Do I detect a thinly disguised "Peace in the Middle East" message, massaged within an inch of saying it, but too "site specific", too narrowly minded; I'll replace it with a more non-denominational cliché?
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams". DL: Fair enough, roll it, package it, and I'll smoke it....
"The world is a complicated place to live in! Yeah I know it blows, its pretty weird but it is". DL: I don't know what to say but try a Garmin, it usually works for me, until it tells me to take the 10 to Venice at 9 in the mornin' (LA drivers, you'll know what I says, the rest of yous can ask them what I am just trying to say).
"Reveal, expose, do not deny eternity." DL: Expose eternity....! Is that a call to arms, a political statement or did you just parfumate with one of those samplers on sixth and Market.
"Dear god, Just as every stream and ocean are connected, some how I must believe.....its hard to believe in you. Bless the falling with compasion. The architecture of the sea creates its own laws; why can't humanity create as a matter of architecture? Let us begin buildings peaceful society, NOW-" DL: Who does not want to chant a prayer that starts nice and easy and ends by screaming... "NOW".
"You fucking killed it brutha, you inspire the revolution. Burning free and bad..., love". DL: I am sensing some innate contradictions, but never-mind me, I am far too cerebral for this....
"Words are not enough,enough,enough,enough,enough,enough,enough,enough,enough,enough,.........." DL: That's the great thing about mantras, if you repeat them long enough, they start to mean something else.
"Keep that spirit flowing breathe your art until your last breath. Oliver." DL: This one startled me for a micro-second. I thought to myself, did I sleep walk to this bitch and signed my name. No, that's signed Oliver, not Olivier.
"You are perfectly complete and whole". DL: (Accompanied With a drawing of what looks like a butt with flowing gas coming out of it). And I am a complete ass whole for thinking it.
"I really like your exhieibit very much!" (Lightning bolt and a house drawn, a kid's handwriting and drawing). DL: He/she is innocent until Early Onset Adulthood.
"Derek, I have always been in awe of your creativeness. The passion for what you do always shine thru. Don't ever stop believing in your capabilities. You are a true artist. I knew this from the day you were born. Love and forever Yours forever yours sincerelly, Mom." DL: This one is a little tricky, as the artist's name is actually spelled Derik, not Derek, so I am to presume that his own mother does not know how to spell her son's name, or she did not get the memo as to why Derek is now called Derik; or some clever little trickster wrote this, but failed to properly read the wall's" "My name is..and I did this..."
"Derek, You are now an art fag Welcome to the club. Vital power takes you right there wherever there is, Leighton, Dad" DL: So dad is in on this too, but I find his message a little more masculine, a little more type A, in a gentle sort of way. Go get the "WHEREVER" Derek....!! I mean, Derik...!
"I am done, I am complete" DL: and someone else wrote next to it, making my work easier, but more indirectly " You are a fucking hippie"
"Thank you brother, I am so proud of you and your vision to wake each and everyone of us from the dream into the living dream of our own potential. Many blessings- reverence." DL: Shoot the messenger, and the message.
"Whoahhhh, whoahh, wwe,.....whoahh, wwwaa,...." DL: Next time I am in a museum I'll shoot for the orgasm, the wine and cheese buffet sucks anyway.
"I honor the place in you where the entire universe dwells. I honour the place in you that is of light, love thruth & of peace. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me. We are one. Namaste, Infinite gratitude & love" DL: Hey brother, I want to come with you but before we begin, please to point me towards the nearest consulate.
"Wubba wubba ....Wubba wubba ....Wubba wubba ....Wubba wubba ...." DL: The afterglow, I presume....
DL: and to conclude, MY PERSONAL FAVORITE:
"I want to face fuck that girl in the video, she's hot", DL:Comment circled and note added next to it ; " Wow, how sad and insulting that that is all you got out of all this love and work. Micah(the girl in the video) the artist's wife.-" DL: No comment.....
As I stepped out of the side show and into the lobby, it was now filled with old ladies, when before it had been empty. The place now smelled like chlorine, that public pool smell old people tend to retain after bobbing in it, to sooth the years away. I presume the YBCA was part of the day, a retirement tour date.
Being of less than sound mind, and urgently needing to pee, I made my way to the latrines but overshot and ended up in the women's bathroom. After vainly looking for urinals, it finally dawned on me that I was in the wrong place. I retraced my steps, only to run into an old lady just about to step into the man's toilets. She had seen me go in the ladies' room and wrongly assumed the other door was where she also needed to do, her business.
How ironic, to get all turned around at the YBCA, where every other exhibit is about some gender specific group show, exploring some sort of gender based "ism-é", or, "Feminism and the subversion of identity, bodies that matter: On the discursive limits of sex". .....humm, remind me not to have sex with that one, too damn intimidating.
PS: MDM, I wrote this one with you in mind, hope it helps lift your spirits, and Alyson too, they had a bit of a rough week.
Once again I find myself on Market and 16th, browsing Books Inc. As frequent readers of this electronic entity know, I am a male hetero living "In the Ghaytto", in San Francisco. My sources tell me that the Castro is being gentrified my breeders, as older gay men leave, sadly, to relocate to less expensive pastures, Guerneville namely, at least that's the word on the street. Anyway, that's besides the point as I am here to discuss erotigay, as I stumble upon it, or rather, as it stumbles upon me. As previously mentioned I am quite fond of most gay specific imagery and seek it out every weekend, after coffee (on n'est pas des cochons, on se leve vers huit heures et demi le samedi). As an aside and just in case you are reading me from a non Judeo-Christian country, we in the West have a holiday which yearly celebrates the virgin birth of a man also know as Jesus Christ, AKA ,JESUS, Jesus fucking Christ, Geeeez...uss Christ almighty!!!; anyway you get the idea. Christmas is a time of joy and gift giving in our country and come December 25th, we shower those we love with, quite literally, millions of tons of joy and gifts. I feel compelled to mention this as Books inc is peddling its annual Christmas selection of published gayrotica. This makes for wonderful perusing. I love it.
Upon entering I immediately came upon the new Harry Bush book "Hard Boys". Whoaaaa! I very much like it. I won't review it here since I do not do that kind of thing but you can find one here. Harry Bush's work reminds me of what a talented pupil might have been sketching to stave off ennui, in Mrs. Perkins high school chemistry. Don't let the cover fool you, crack it open and check out the packaged goods within. It's definitely worth a look see.
I am a resident of a San Francisco neighborhood called "The Castro". You might have heard of it...! It all began as a refuge for WWII service men after they were discharged from the army for being homosexual. Come to think of it, this might be the reason why homosexuals are so fond of dressing up like the service men they once were. After all, it's what started it all; but then again, may be, just may be...!
As I was saying, I live in the Castro and spend much time patronizing the commercial establishments catering to Eureka valley, as the Castro is also commonly known. On weekend mornings I have made it a habit to go to a local bookstore to peruse the books and magazine stand of one such mentioned establishment. One "zine" which has recently caught my eye is "Butt" magazine, "The Magazine for and about the homosexuelles". Because I live in San Francisco and the Castro more specifically, as previously mentioned; I am constantly bombarded by images of male sexuality and have of course become quite enamored with its own sets of peculiarities. Something I always tend to do when I spend any length of time in places with personalities, which, as it turns out, is just about anywhere.
The nice thing about men appreciating men is that it takes on some of the same bewildering visual and cliched diversity that men, photographing women, have had the pleasure and freedom to indulge in, without fearing a heavy handed truncheoning at the hand of our best and most fearful moralists(not that they've stopped trying). On the other hand, it seems rather unfortunate that women, for the most part, do not seem to share the same exploitative and hormonal need to visually portray us men, with the same obsessive vigor, as straight and gay men seem to display towards the objects of their sexual desires. Do testes fancy imagery over and above that of their reproductive gonadotropin-releasing counterparts, the ovaries?
But enough of that, and as I was saying "Butt" magazine, for whatever reason has caught my attention, and this here last edition might yet become an instant classic, and if not with the rest of the world, at least with me and the boys. As with anything, the best part of it, is connecting random dots to weave one's story.
So, here is one more proof that what you are is what you see: I woke up around 830 and off we went for coffee at Peets, on Market street. No more than a few paces from Peets stands "Books inc.", a place for books and magazines. I picked up a copy of "Butt" as the image on the cover begged me, of course the boys are easily amused but this story does not so easily end here. We return home, eat breakfast and decide to head on over to the climbing gym to burn off some calories. Down Noe to 18th, but whom should we see struggling up the hill on a ten speed, it's cover boy from Butt Magazine...! Same hair, same ethnicity, same high heels, same ten speed. Is this even a remote possibility, could it be or are we imagining?
So, down the hill we speed, with Raph and Gab exclaiming: "Papa, that's the guy from Butt Magazine"....! Indeed....... but the best part of the story is that it wasn't him, just a doppelgängerish coincidence, on Noe and 18th. Fate, had once again, seemed fit to discharge him, his high heels and ten speed, to roamed Eureka valley's hills and gullies. The lad on Butt's cover apparently lives and loves on his ten speed, in a city called London, and the chances of his traveling with his trusty steed to struggle up our hills, seem rather slim, don't you think?
So, what's the moral of this story?: "If you are what you see, keep looking; you never know what you might turn out to be".