Saturday, February 26, 2011

beautiful darling

last tuesday evening, jim and i went to the tattered covered theatre on colfax. there was a denver film society screening of "beautiful darling" which is a documentary about candy darling. i believe this is a companion to the warhol in colorado exhibit which is currently running at du. candy was a tranny with quite remarkable beauty who starred in several andy warhol films during the early 70's. she was part of a small enclave of chicks with dicks that hung out at the factory, and included holly woodlawn, jackie curtis, and candy darling- candy being the most "passable" of them.

one thing that was highlighted for me by the film, was the incredibly hazardous lifestyle that transvestites and transsexuals experience, especially during those times. barriers like verbal abuse, police harassment, arrests, discrimination, blackmail, and much more horror. the very idea that individuals can and do endure such humiliating and hurtful lives to follow their intention to be "themselves" is humbling at least. this choosing to live as a gender other than the one deemed from nature is hard fought and even harder won. there is a staggering bravery in the boldness of their choices. it is painfully evident that their is much pain in following the heart or just as much in choosing to not follow the heart. candy died in 1973 of lymphoma which is believed to have been caused by injecting estrogen.

Candy says I've come to hate my body
and all that it requires in this world
Candy says I'd like to know completely
what others so discreetly talk about.... lyrics by lou reed and velvet underground

candy darling inspired so many of those around her. she had an adoring companion named jeremiah who fell in love with her at a young age and still cares for her ashes and memory all these years later. she caught the attention of warhol who captured the imagination of his generation, and she inspired many of those around her. the lou reed song "walk on the wild side" contains a stanza completely about her.

Candy came from out on the Island
In the backroom she was everybody's darlin'
But she never lost her head
Even when she was giving head
She says, Hey babe..... lyrics by lou reed
this documentary is not ground breaking, although i believe that in some ways candy darling was. and this film will not be discussed in many circles. but its subject and the time and place it was born have penetrated my soul. the factory, the village of the 70's, the velvet underground, bohemian chic, max's kansas city have all come to represent atlantis to me. the germination of the idea imperfection is glamorous. and i know that the wave of change that candy rode was much bigger than just her life. that wave still glistens in my eyes, and sometimes i think i can even hear her giggle

i love this version of "candy says" by antony and the johnsons.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

own kind of beauty

sometimes awful things have their own kind of beauty

i was talking with a guy the other day and it seemed he got a burr in his butt because he asked what i thought he should do about this guy he partied with about a year ago. this guy's friend had angered him as they got hammered because a friend stopped by and pulled a knife on him and asked him for his money. the friend he is discussing did nothing to intervene, almost if the whole drama had been expected.

my companion (eric) was getting riled up, just recanting the scene.the bit that followed is that this friend then had sex with eric's ex, who is hiv positive and did not disclose to this guy.eric knew this and stifled any desire to share the std information. eric had just seen him and it lit a fire to disclose his ex's hiv status  in order to injure this person who had injured him. even after over a year, eric is still carrying a grudge toward this friend  about the robbery and about sleeping with his ex and he has convinced himself that this disclosure would be a kindness or "doing the right thing".

there is a strangeness and a familiarity to this scenario that  is both a bit sad and a bit dingy. i guess there are times when honesty comes only when there is a chance for retribution involved. he didn't care about this friend's well being. he wasn't considering this disclosure for the other person's sake.  i guess there are times when giving someone a version of the truth only comes when our knickers are scrunched. and i guess that happens to me more often than i realize. certainly to me, and now i am reminded, to others as well. i am still learning that holding back sometimes is the kindest thing i can do. i believe that evaluating my intentions is the priority.

“Sometimes awful things have their own kind of beauty,” a young Spanish stud (Jon Kortajarena) tells George Falconer (Colin Firth), a bereaved professor, in A Single Man. He’s talking about a lurid, smog-inflected California sunset.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


for the motion version of this pic- click here

almost friday and life gets more simple and more complicated at the same time. my heart continues to open and my barriers to love continue to pop up like the flying ducks in a shooting arcade game. some days it is exhausting. and then it is inspiring. and then exhausting again. today i heard someone crying over the phone and a very codependent urge to comfort them filled my core. it was quietly sublime. even better was the chance to address that urge later in the day.

with regard to glee, (which i kinda covet every week) there is the emerging issue of the heavy girl (lauren zizes) who is demonized as a sexual compulsive. this week, she was singing "i know what boys like" and i found myself feeling insulted and played down to. it's almost creepy and abusive somehow.  on the upside, i am pretty sure that chord overstreet is actually developing some rhythm and won't have to be in the back rows of the dance routines much longer.

tomorrow i will be participating in the filming of a small documentary about "advocates for recovery" which is an organization that has become dear to my heart. i cringe to think about how i will appear in the camera's eye as i have shape shifted over the last 2 years and gained much weight. and here is where i should tell myself that it is easier to criticize myself than do the work to change. this is a truth that i understand very well.
questions i will be speaking to:   What did your active addiction look like? What's your life look like now?What did you take from the community in your addiction?  What do you give back to the community? now? this possible with out support????

my oh my - my head is swimming today. i am looking to endorse some enhancements at my workplace. i am nearly mesmerized by the opportunities is see for change. and manic-me loves this part of my life's rhythm. but i do need to be ready for no change at all. this is just as much a possibility. and i am NOT in charge...

i have been talking about much this week about success and failures not being separate entities, but more being a part of the same bigger whole. without loss, we don't "get" triumph. and without desperation, we probably would not recognize hope if it surrounded us.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

simple and resilient

You'd know how the time flies.
Only yesterday was the time of our lives.
We were born and raised in a summery haze.
Bound by the surprise of our glory days.
I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited
But I couldn't stay away I couldn't fight it.
I'd hoped you'd see my face & that you'd be reminded
That for me it isn't over yet.
Nevermind I'll find someone like you.
I wish nothing but the best for you too.
Don't forget me I beg I remember you said:-
"Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead" yay.
Nothing compares no worries or cares.
Regret's and mistakes they're memories made.
Who would have known how bittersweet this would taste?

there are just a few very simple things i wish for my life today. simplicity and resilience. i pray for the ability to traverse and recover from the hills and the valleys of this journey. i can't win at everything, but i do hope i can survive it. i love a steaming hot latte or 2 dark chocolate truffles. an heirloom tomato salad or a fresh fig with honey. i like to laugh with my friends and i love to feel included and i love love love lazy sunday mornings. maybe this is serenity? it feels like maybe.....

Someone was hurt before you, wronged before you, hungry before you, frightened before you, beaten before you, humiliated before you, raped before you…yet, someone survived…You can do anything you choose to do... Maya Angelou

Saturday, February 12, 2011

working with others

Working With Others

Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when other fail. Remember they are very ill.

Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends — this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.

Perhaps you are not acquainted with any drinkers who want to recover. You can easily find some by asking a few doctors, ministers, priests or hospitals. They will be only too glad to assist you. Don't start out as an evangelist or reformer. Unfortunately a lot of prejudice exists. You will be handicapped if you arouse it. Ministers and doctors are competent and you can learn much from them if you wish, but it happens that because of your own drinking experience you can be uniquely useful to other alcoholics. So cooperate; never criticize. To be helpful is our only aim.

i haven't written about my raison d'etre for awhile. it's not easy to be objective about something so personal. and working with others is not simple. really, there is probably not much to say that hasn't been said. what i have realized in the few years i have doing this is that i learn as i go. that holding back  is just as important as pushing forward. that listening holds more power than yakking. and that just being there is the most valuable gift to give.

all the missteps, all the wrong turns, all the dark hours, all the heartache and horror, all the self-deprecation, and all the failed attempts that i have experienced on my journey as well as the shared time with others leads me to an evolving place of the present. part of what i am privileged to witness is definitely the sprouting of fellowship around me. part of what am privy to is the way in which the world opens up to envelop my this intention- this intention of giving back. the synchronicity that prevails in tandem with re purposing my life has been an extraordinary experience  for me. i am indeed a testament to the highs and lows that one life traverses.

however, the highlight of working with others are individual transformations that are sometimes seen. not always the same at all, they are as different as the characters they come through. sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly is a truism, but doesn't come close to the diversity encountered.  and although as varied as the number of species of plants on this planet, the singular expression of self-appraisal, self-empowerment, and self-forgiveness that accompanies recovery is a quiet masterpiece. and to see it is is a chance to see a one-time event with the best seat in the house.

i can't imagine how my life would look without this turn it has taken this last decade.  i am so very humbled by the pop-up-book quality that my life now has- turn a page and wow there's an entire city. and i am thankful for the grace afforded me in having purpose. when i am working with others i am working on myself. i am others and others are me.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

a haunting ghost story

jim and i went to the esquire on sunday evening with two objectives: 1) to avoid any notice of a football game and 2) to see a south american film called undertow. i knew very little about it and am almost at a loss as to share just how memorable it is.

it takes place in a chiquito beach fishing village in peru. santiago is an extremely handsome (very gay) and independent artist/painter and has moved to the village to perhaps get away from his family. he has met and engaged in an affair with miguel- a very loved married man who grew up in the village. it becomes clear they have been having secret trysts and exotic entanglements, but since miguel's wife has a baby due any minute, miguel thinks it a practical idea to end the affair (after one last glorious lovemaking) with tiago.

since i am not a reviewer, i thought i would share a synopsis from the film's website...

Miguel is a handsome, young and beloved fisherman in Cabo Blanco, a small fishing village in the Northern coast of Peru, where the community has deep-rooted religious traditions. Miguel is married to the beautiful Mariela, who is 7-months pregnant with their firstborn, but Miguel harbors a scandalous secret: He is having a love affair with another man, Santiago, a painter who is ostracized by the townsfolk for being agnostic and open about his sexuality.

When Santiago drowns accidentally in the ocean's strong undertow, he cannot pass peacefully to the other side. He returns after his death to ask Miguel to look for his body and bury it according to the rituals of the town. Miguel must choose between sentencing Santiago to eternal torment or doing right by him and, in turn, revealing their relationship to Mariela and the entire village. Miguel is forced to deal with the consequences of his acts and to come to terms with who he really is, even if by doing so he stands the chance of losing the people he loves the most.
With sweeping images of the beautiful Peruvian coastline, UNDERTOW (Contracorriente) is the emotional intersection of contemporary sexuality, confronted by tradition and belief. This sexy and redolent love story is the feature film debut of Javier Fuentes-León and stars Manolo Cardona (Beverly Hills Chihuahua and the hugely popular telenovela series, Sin tetas no hay paraiso, and was also named by People en Espanol as one of its 50 Most Beautiful People in 2005), Cristian Mercado (Che) and Tatiana Astengo. The film is produced by Javier Fuentes-León and Rodrigo Guerrero (Maria Full of Grace, Dog Eat Dog).

of course the above is a simplification, and i cannot begin to relay just how simple and beautiful the metaphors for love, closeted gay love, stigma, and acceptance are that follow. tiago remains attached to earth and has to ask miguel to release him from his undead predicament, but miguel struggles with this concept selfishly. he wants to be with him so he continues his affair with his ghostly companion, even finally being brave enough to walk down the main drag of his village hand in hand with the man he loves. of course none of the other villagers see anyone but miguel- which speaks volumes about the loves we have that others do not see.

being a vbq (very big queen) i cried at the closing of the film. there is something so final about death and about the closure that those of us left behind need in order to move forward. it is a grave note that we are left with, but it is not simply sorrow that i felt. i found i was up to my earlobes in hope- that such a powerfully simple and straightforward film could come from such a small and not-very-well known country takes my breath away- almost as much as scene after scene of the peruvian coastline. i say see this film no matter what. even if you hate subtitles.

 the 2 leading men are beautiful. the film is delicious. and the soundtrack is even more enticing.  as a starter or as a meal, contracorriente (undertow) is thoroughly sublime.

Friday, February 4, 2011

kiss today goodbye....

The sweetness and the sorrow.
Wish me luck, the same to you.
But I can't regret
What I did for love, what I did for love.
Look my eyes are dry.
The gift was ours to borrow.
It's as if we always knew,
And I won't forget what I did for love,
What I did for love.

today was an everyday friday... and yet i wave it goodbye with a not-so-ordinary calm. i processed quite a bit today. i finally have come to understand the reality of some character defects, have begun to accept them, and am consciously asking for them to be removed. there is a quiet grace in this process which is definitely like a clear blue sky on a deep-freeze day.

much of this defect business is about a shopping fetish.... or maybe it's a spending fetish... or maybe it's about not saving... whatever it is really about, it is also really invasive and has gotten away from me "like a train on a track" as florence would say. i don't know if i can make it for months at a time without overspending, but i do know i have to try.

beyond this though, i have also entered what seems to be a new realm for me. i have been asked to assess my own efforts as objectively as i can. the real challenge lies not with overestimating my output, but undervaluing it, i think. as i move through the phases of my cause and effect, i feel intimidated to claim responsibility for this change or that by-product. naturally, part of me wants the credit, but a small but very pertinent child-within tells me i did not do any of this- i am just mistaken. so as i began to work on this, i realized that i have to give this whole thing some real thought. i can't just say yes or no. and maybe i even have to take a chance and not do the first thing that comes up. it's perplexing, it's  daunting, and it's definitely an opportunity to grow.

i am definitely embarrassed to report that i am recording the last season of oprah. indeed i am a vbq (very big queen) till the end. today, oprah was telling bo derek that bo seemed as if she led her life with an open heart. it seemed a quiet phrase, this open heart phrase, but a voluminous one. perhaps it represents a shift in perception for me. walking through life with an open heart seems not a small thing. not a small thing at all. if i were to look towards what is yet to be, i know that unknown and open heart are not soulmates in my mind.

this is a delicious challenge for me. open heart. letting go. assuming good. forgiving first.  especially considering how much i haven't done for fear of love. this would most likely be the instrumental of my life. what i haven't done for love. so today maybe we can also mark a change in direction here as well. open heart. what i do FOR love. hmmmmm

now i'm exhausted just thinking of this.  and it's time for some sleep. what happened to that calm i was writing about?