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:
After watching what Chase and Jake did I was equally disgusted and curious about what I had seen. It was really all I could think about sometimes, and it bothered me.
What troubled me even more was sneaking peeks at the magazine hidden under Chase's mattress, seeing the biggest penis I had ever seen deeply stuck in the other guy and the expression on his face. I couldn't decide if it was a look of pain or pleasure, but I know Chase and Jake seemed to like what was happening. As disgusted as I was it was something I needed to try.
I've had an eventful past couple of weeks, I suppose. Guess whose last day of high school is May 8th!? MINE! And only Tuesday day is a full day. Monday is a half day, and Wednesday is like one class only. Graduation isn't until the week after next, but my last day of actual classes is the 8th. After that, there's only the AP English exam. And now I don't have to go into school until 10 a.m. because my dual enrollment class ended. It doesn't feel like this is actually happening to me, you know?
You may never read this, but I need you to know that I still love you with all my heart and soul. I feel my heart warm up and my stomach tingle with butterflies when I think about you. I cry when I remember all the times we fought and argued. I can't regret those times because they made us stronger. Even after all of those things, I still love you more than life itself.
I'm auditioning for Oliver! My mom found out that the local professional theatre is putting it on and auditions are really soon. All I have to do is learn one of the songs they provided and I could get the role of my dreams, the Artful Dodger! (Or the young female lead, the "rude yet flirtatious" Charlotte)
I've decided to go with Dodger's "Consider Yourself." My strength is belting, and the song is perfect for my range. I REALLY hope that I get the role. It would make my memories of this year much better. Plus, it could start me on the road to being the next Ethel Merman!
It's been way too long since I've been one here and I want to update things!
Last year I applied to a really good private school here, knowing that it was a long shot for me to get in. Really my mom did the applying but it was my friend Michael who made the suggestion. He goes there and his dad wrote a letter of recommendation for me. We also applied for financial aid, which we knew would also be a long shot.
We were told that the selections would be made in March, and we would hear by May 1st if I got in or not. It's been a tense wait!
This time I want to write about how I found out that Jake and Chase weren't exactly straight. My last journal was real tough to write, but I think this one will be easier.
Chase met Jake when third grade started and I think they were best friends from the moment they met. Jake was popular and outgoing, a great athlete and a good student, and a good person. We sat by each other on the school bus, and after school we were around each other when we could.
Until I remember that the universe is indifferent to the trivialities of mere mortals like myself. P.S: Buckle up. This is gonna be a long journal.