Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Children Of House

It was Tim’s 1990 Bastille Day fete – one of those events that always brought all the Pittsburgh underground youth tribes together. There were the Carnegie-Mellon hipsters, the patent-leather creeper ambisexuals, the edgy industrial-punk queers, the militant Act-Up-ers, the Point State Park theatre majors, the disaffected Dithridge kids and the should-be-in-New-York-but-stuck-in-Pittsburgh clubbers. And, of course, no party of that era in Pittsburgh alterna-gay history could have even been mentionable without the attendance of the residents of 227. Most often just referred to as the Queens’ House, 227 North Neville St. was a sort of hip, debaucherous gay frat house, certainly not affiliated with any sort of higher learning institution. Erik, Thom, Jason, Michael, Joel and a changeable entourage of minor characters who, generally, had simply forgotten to leave after the last Queens’ House party a month or two ago were the epicenter of all things cool, fun and irresponsible.

It was a muggy, sticky summer night and Tim’s house was packed to its Victorian-era rafters. Having been around the scene for a few years already, I knew most everyone, but I’ve never been much of a mingler or a chit-chatter so I headed straight for the living room dancefloor. Back then, DJs at house parties were a luxury and a rarity, so days before a party were lost assembling mixtapes of underground alterna-dance music. Rare New Order and Pet Shop Boys 12” remixes imported from Japan, Nitzer Ebb, Xymox and Book of Love. And of course, the perennial white label pre-released Madonna du jour.

Stimpy pulled me off to the side, and asked if I could somehow get whoever was in charge of the music to play a cassette that he’d brought. He handed his cherished cassingle to me. I looked down at it, and then never looked at him the same way again.

I met Stimpy a few months earlier, through our gay youth group. Tim had known Stimpy in high school, and brought him to the group and the scene. Stimpy seemed like a nice guy to me – but a little nerdy and a lot needy. Years and years of school torment left me susceptible to over indulge my first experience of in-group status.

It sounds a bit more new-agey than I’m comfortable with, but I really was feeling a connection to some new energy – a 100th monkey-style pull. And, when I saw that cassingle that said “French Kiss” on it, I knew – I knew – that Stimpy was feeling it too, and that I had just completed another necessary connection. We got the tape played, and everyone danced to the sound of the future.

A year and a half later, the vague pull that we felt turned to outright restlessness, and Stimpy, on a total whim, instituted his SEARS (Sell Everything And Run Swiftly) sale. Within 2 weeks from his decision to leave Pittsburgh, found himself at roommate referral in San Francisco. Shortly after arriving, he, and about 20 of his new best friends, called me from a pay-phone at one of San Francisco’s first raves – the Whoopy Ball, and Stimpy’s picture was plastered in NewsWeek as a visual of the new cyberdelic youth movement on the West Coast. Two weeks later, I was headed cross-country in a Renault Alliance with $300 and some techno tapes.

It’s been 15 years since we stepped off the edge, and became who we are. We live in different cities at the moment, but we still talk nearly every day as though we’d just seen each other yesterday. Most people wouldn’t believe the things that we’ve seen together, and that doesn’t matter to either one of us. We were a part of the revolution that no one knows about, we stood on top of the mountain and watched the sun rise and we’ve laughed ourselves out of the absurdity of 1,001 tragedies. We were the children of house.

Happy Bastille Day Stimpy!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Traditional Family Values

I’ve been trying to keep my nose out of politics. I haven’t publicly expressed my seething hatred of this administration in quite some time. I’ve been watching Life on the D List and Top Chef instead of the pundit talk shows. I haven’t gotten into any heated discussions with co-workers over the Decider’s decisions regarding Scooter Libby, Alberto Gonzalez, or “The Surge” in Iraq. Sure, I’ve been wearing my new OBAMA t-shirt…but very quietly, and I haven’t made a peep about stupid Ann Coulter. It’s been good for me to take a breather.

But David Vitter. Good ole’ boy, David Vitter. Could there be a better poster boy for conservative America? David “family values” Vitter who has been adored by the Christian Coalition and the Family Research Council for spearheading the campaign to re-write the Constitution of the United States so as to forever ban states from recognizing the lifetime commitments made by gay Americans. David “traditional marriage” Vitter who stood in support of upholding and affirming traditional marriage by protecting it from those people of the same-sex who wish to love each other and live their lives together. David “sanctity of life” Vitter, who has fought so vehemently against a woman’s right to choose and against gay peoples’ right to adopt unwanted children.

And, on Monday, news broke that David Vitter, while serving his family values agenda, had been a cheating-on-his-wife customer of a brothel in Washington D.C. Apparently, it gets lonely in the capital while one is drafting mean-spirited legislation. Luckily, according to Senator Vitter himself…both his wife and God have forgiven him for his indiscretion.

Now, today, it’s come out that upstanding Senator Vitter was also a favorite customer of a brothel in his home state of Louisiana. * blush *

Honestly, I don’t really care that he visited these places. I hate that modern politics revolves around these sort of personal life ambushes. For all I know, his wife is totally ok with it, and encourages him to hook up with hookers. It’s the jaw-dropping hypocrisy that kills me. What kind of moral void does one have to possess to construct and relentlessly pursue a political agenda based on denying a group of people the basic dignity of marriage – because they’re not good enough – while banging a series of prostitutes all over this country?

I guess it’s the same moral void that drove our second Republican sex scandal this week.

"I don't believe there's any issue that's more important than this one. I think this debate is very healthy, and it's winning a lot of hearts and minds. I think we're going to show real progress." – David Vitter speaking, shortly after his state was devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, in support of banning gay Americans from marrying their life-long partners.

"Unfortunately, it's the crossroads where Katrina meets Rita. I always knew I was against same-sex unions.” - Comedian Senator David Vitter speaking at a Lafayette Parish Republican Executive Committee luncheon. Apparently, Senator Vitter’s joke was supposed to be at the expense of gay Americans…but was taken as offensive to a lot of non-gay Louisianans who lost their homes, family members, friends and livelihoods during the those hurricane disasters.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

My Summer Vacation

In what has become an all too common occurence around here, I've been busy tending to real life stuff. Everything's good - just really busy. It's another beautiful day, and I'm on my way to finally see Sicko, so I can't go into anything of substance today. But, here's a quick update...we moved. Yes, Tony and I moved into a dee-luxe apartment in the sky-high. Life is good on the 17th floor.

The morning view