By Jeff Walsh
I have a friend and former teacher that I see whenever I go home to visit and, even without much warning, we'll end up sitting at a corner table at a casino bar, order some drinks, and settle in.
It's become pretty routine that we're going to catch up on things, have some deep conversation, and just enjoy each other's company for a few hours. And, no matter how long it's been since we last got together, the connections flood back and you realize the special bonds that people share.
When I got my review copy of Brent Hartinger's The Elephant of Surprise, I was a bit apprehensive. How long ago did I read the last book? How did it end? And, since this is the fourth book in the Geography Club series that began a decade ago, how did we get here?
I didn't need to worry. First of all, Hartinger does a quick summary at the beginning of the book. But as you start reading the names, and how the characters interact, it all starts coming back to you. Maybe not every plot point of all three books, but the bonds between the characters, the little quirky details, and the comfort of being on a journey with these friends again.
Another new social media experience I had tonight is seeing a friend tagged in a lot of photos and such on my Facebook ticker, and when I finally clicking through to see what kind of trouble he was out getting himself into, I learned that all of the tags were, sadly, eulogies...
I knew William Brandon Lacy Campos from around when I first started Oasis in 1995, and he would submit columns every month in his early activist days in the mid-to-late 90s. We never became great friends then, but I always stayed aware of what he was up to.
When we were both in the Bay Area and later NYC, we made a lot of casual plans that fell through, as you do, finally seeing The Kinsey Sicks at the Highline a few months back. But with Facebook, we thrived. Every day, we traded torrents of bitchy over-the-top remarks. I'd say something culturally insensitive. He'd threaten to slap be back to slavery. I'd ask if I could pick what kind of plantation I wanted to own, and on and on.
The subtext was always playful, though, and I enjoyed being connected with him as often as we were through our conversations. I mean, why spend time making fun of people you don't care about?! So, our physical interactions were incredibly low, but after more than two decades of being aware of someone, there remains that connection.
By Jeff Walsh
Anthony Lee Medina first caught my attention when he nearly fell on me during the Spring Awakening tour in San Francisco. I was seated onstage, and he took an impressive spill during 'Bitch of Living,' that only seemed to energize him more for the song.
I'm never quite sure what it is about seeing certain performers in a show, and you follow them after that show, but I've always kept up with Anthony (Facebook helps there).
Of course, since that time in 2008, I spent much of the time erroneously thinking Anthony was straight and not Oasis material, a notion that was quickly dispelled upon seeing his solo show, Anthony Lee Medina - About Me, after moving to NYC.
Now, Anthony is starting a new part of his career, as he raises the money to put out his first collection of songs, The Ladybug Articles, later this year. Most of the songs are inspired by his ongoing tumultuous relationship with a guy he is still in love with.
We met during the recent heatwave at Otarian, a vegetarian restaurant he turned me onto in the city, and we talked. A lot. Here's what we had to say:
Thanks to the few of you who responded to my last blog, written at oh...1 am, a few nights ago. I am feeling better...
The First and Last Time (A poem about HPV)
Simple are your kisses that fall upon my face
Gentle are your hands...warm is your embrace
Magical this evening
That I share with you
I am so unprepared
Not knowing what you will do
Careful are your words
You whisper in my ear
Telling me to touch you
Telling me not to fear
Your hands run over me like water
I am unsure what to feel
I kiss you back though I am scared
Helpful suggestion: build your vocabulary.
I'm working on creating an educational panel at school, where a bunch of people are qualified to speak about GLBT issues...
I met Whit's boyfriend today.
I really have to say that I'm glad to be finally somewhat involved in his love life. Before, we didn't have that. I guess the fact that I'll be going away for college kind of resonates in our minds for our friendship. Or maybe the kid is growing up or something. Maybe I am.
He's going to be one of the first people I kidnap to spend a weekend with me in the dorms.
Does anyone even understand what the hell is up with the terms carpet muncher and fudge packer... honestly. Those terms just piss me off. I mean, we can reclaim terms like fag and dyke. But who wants to reclaim the other two, and honestly who came up with them. I'm sorry this post isn't really well thought out, but these terms have just been bothering me and I want to know other people's thoughts on them or anything really. I don't have much of an adgenda with this one, except why? And what the hell? Put downs can be so moronic, and then they just become even more moronic. It's really phenomenal.
::laughter dying down into humming noises:: Hmmmmm... mmmhmmmhmmm... Oh, that was just enjoyable... hmmmhmmm...
Well, as I was waiting for my school to finally close this evening, I decided to browse through the XY personals, and I don't think that I've had this much fun laughing and crying because of my empathy for people since... well... since that MTV's "Made" this morning about the football player who wanted to be an opera singer and had absolutely NO sense of pitch, let alone ANY talent for singing. (I admired him for trying, but I thought it was ridiculous that the people kept telling him he was so good when he still needed a LOT of work. I mean, they gave him "Aura Lee" as his piece. "AURA LEE"? That's an audition piece for a regional choir! That's singing basics. "Aura Lee"... Wow, I was so embarassed for him I was laughing and tearing up and making a scene. It was very intense for me.)