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July 2007

Did you hear that? It was the sound of Lennon rolling over in his grave…

Walking through what appeared to be an upscale shopping center in Chicago recently, I was accosted by an all-American looking, stereotypical blonde college student. Yeah, you’ve seen this type before: Her blue eyes matched the ‘African’ beads around her neck almost perfectly. I’d bet my life that she drove a parental-paid Volvo SUV. This was definitely the kind of gal who would wait until her 30’s to get braces.

Her yells of ‘Save Darfur’ echoed through the walkways as she sat behind a table full of copied propaganda, throwing it in the general direction of anyone within arm’s reach. TAKE ACTION NOW! STOP THE GENOCIDE IN DARFUR!

My inability to keep from smirking at this over-zealous college student and their always-fashionable causes got me thinking back to my own university days (and how I actually believed that one person could change the world). Ignoring this sort of no-nothing idealism wasn’t too tough considering I’ve lived in the ‘real world’ awhile, but her next statement caused me to stop short:

‘So, like, you don’t want to help us save Africa?’

At this point, I should have taken her apart verbally, but instead found the need for a Henry Bendel candle from Bath and Body Works to be much more appealing. If it’s a decision between hobnobbing with Al Gore or falling asleep to the smell of lavender and vanilla, I’ll take the damn candle: It’s a whole lot cheaper and I’d frankly rather drink a broken-glass smoothie than spend more than 10 minutes with Gore and his hypocritical cronies.

In some countries, this would be considered assault…

Would someone please explain to me how a man who’s so environmentally concerned can also have two private jets? Even Karl Rove couldn’t spin his way out of that one.

Why is it that our American guilt over our stupidity in the Middle East has caused us to seek redemption in Africa? Idealistic university students, filthy rich celebs using other people’s money and politicos like Tony Blair have all made their top priority bringing light to this rather disadvantaged nation. Suddenly, it’s as fashionable to adopt an African child as it is to pick out upholstery samples at Ethan Allen. Based on the eye-rolling rush by celebrities to adopt the foreign and ‘disadvantaged,’ I’ve seen more abject discrimination with people adopting at their local Humane Society. Why wouldn’t it shock me to know that at this point, Jolie just asks her assistant to send over a few ‘child swatches’ and she picks the one who’ll look best with a mohawk and clothing from Fred Segal.

It all seems to be the West’s new image of itself: An alluring, pop-sensible, politically-correct generation whose preferred method of spreading the good word are in-depth features in US Magazine (a staggering 2-paragraphs), where the celebs painstakingly placed out front are strangely just as emaciated looking as the very people they’re trying to help.

Anyone remember the ‘I am African’ ad campaign, where stars like Gwyneth Paltrow wore faux tribal markings with the bold caption of ‘I AM AFRICAN… Help us stop the dying’ ran below? Are you fucking kidding me? It’s advertising like this that perpetuate the stereotypes of Africa being the third-world pit that Westerners think it is. It eerily mirrors the history of European colonialism with missionaries being sent to Africa to introduce them to teachings to Jesus and ‘civilize’ them.

The United States has become so wrapped up in taking credit for the successes of Africa, that we forget how far they’ve progressed long before ‘Brangelina’ and Bono began patting themselves on the back. Throwing money at an issue doesn’t necessarily fix it (case-in-point, Iraq), but let’s also not forget that no matter how ugly the situation may be in Africa, our AIDS, poverty and healthcare crisis in the United States isn’t fixing itself.

How easy it must be to have a stylist braid your hair, hop onto a private jet and stare lovingly at African children, all while giving perfect soundbyte to your camera crew who’s capturing every second. Why not fight the good fight a little closer to home? Take that 15 billion dollars that the Bush admin just gave to Africa for low to no-cost AIDS medication and put it to use for the millions of people here in the states who can’t easily afford their $2500 a month AZT bill.

Then again, it’s tough to fight against the evils of the pharmaceutical industry when you’re sleeping next to them every night. Haven’t seen Michael Moore’s SICKO yet? Go. Now.

Reality check: The streets in the states haven’t been paved in gold for quite some time. Quit drinking the Access Hollywood Kool-Aid and demand change. It begins with you. We deserve more from our government. Sure, it’s fun to be fashionably hip, but not at the expense of your own society.

And in other news…

It seemed that every time I went looking for news on my blackberry, the story always seemed to revolve around the recent death of Tammy Faye Messner. Now don’t get me wrong: Any death, especially from something as horrible as cancer, is a needless one. I’m sure she had a bitch of a time during her last years and for that, I feel terrible for her and her family.

But… you knew it was coming

Here’s a woman who spent a good chunk of her life swindling people out of their life savings, convincing them to send everything they had to the PTL Foundation in return for a VIP-spot in the afterlife. Jim Bakker may have been the one convicted of the $150 million fraud, but common sense dictates that Tammy Faye must have known SOMETHING was rotten in Denmark. She stood by a man who openly preached against the gay lifestyle as an ‘abomination’ and solicited her flock for as much money as they could muster.

Fast-forward to Bakker getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar, Jessica Hahn’s newfound celebrity (mainly due to Howard Stern) and Tammy Faye doing her level best to distance herself from all of it. Thanks to the documentary ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’ and foraged friendships outside of her normal comfort level, it looked as if Tammy was on the road to embracing all she had once preached against. Yes, she had found a group of people who embraced her freakish, eyeliner-laden ways: The gay community.

I call bullshit. It was a thinly-veiled, opportunistic move. She appealed to the last bastion of people who would accept her for all of her faults. As fickle as the gay community can be, we have the uncanny ability to forgive and then re-vitalize someone’s career: We’ve repeatedly forgiven Madonna for the crap she’s put out, single-handedly keeping her bony-ass on the music charts and giving her the financial ability to continue to make god-awful films. Whenever I watch anything she’s done, I am reminded of why most of the silent film stars in the ‘30s didn’t make the transition into ‘talkies.’

Frankly, her Larry King interview frightened me: It was her swan song, warbled horribly off-key and leaving thousands of people with visual
scarring while wondering why she didn’t simply invest in some duct tape and MAC StudioFix. I felt sorry for her pain, but in no way bought into anything else she had to share. Tammy Faye was nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing, peddling her story to anyone who would listen. I have a feeling that she was having a harder time convincing herself of her newfound outlook on life.

It makes me insane that the press is giving her continuos coverage over something more important like the rising death toll in Iraq or Tara Reid’s latest botched plastic surgery. There’s a conspiracy theorist inside of me that thinks Larry King himself narced her water while she was giving him an interview last week, causing her sudden death. His initial plan on strangling her with one of his suspenders was nixed as ‘too public.’

Well, that and the fact that Tammy Faye could have probably beaten the crap out of King if push came to shove.

So, it seems that Larry and Paris Hilton share more than just taste in suspenders…

Just got back from a few days in New York, where I had a shot to see Patti LuPone in City Center’s production of Gypsy. While this has really turned into the must-see of the season, I had my doubts about how well LuPone would shape the character of Rose, hopefully not mugging as much as she did in last season’s revival of Sweeney Todd.

Well, she mugged. A LOT. Enough so that any thought of there ever being a 4th wall holding the audience in anonymity, it was shattered into what appeared to be glitter. Sure, she sang the shit out of the show and showed incredible restraint when creating the vocal character, but when it came time to actually form a living, breathing person up there, she failed miserably.

LuPone was just being LuPone. The audience was more gay than a Rufus Wainwright concert and they just ate it up. Her line of ‘sing out Louise!’ brought nearly a standing ovation 5-minutes into the show, prompting me to determine if this was really a Broadway show or a Margaret Cho gig.. It’s nice to see an excited audience, but this was ridiculous. We’re at the theatre kids, not a Knicks game.

Supporting cast was very solid. Small production values, but a well-used set. Great sound and lighting. If you can snag a first row on the mez rail, go for it. The rise between rows in the orchestra is terrible. Thanks to the unusually large gay-contingent, expect a rather long line for the men’s rooms at intermission. I recommend barging into the ladies room, loudly announcing your homosexuality in defense, and using one of their stalls.

Dinner at Balthazar, after leaving La Esquina due to a surplus of annoying urban hipsters crowding my ability to have a normal conversation. Solid food, but tough-as-nails getting the escargot out of their shells. I hated the way they prepared them. Sat across from Bruce Springstein and what appeared to be his lovely gay assistant (or so he says). Nice guy, but The Boss really needed to take a shower and put on a clean shirt every now and then. I’m just glad he didn’t have that damned American flag bandana hanging out of his back pocket.

It’s very red.

I did a little furniture shopping for my new place at DWR. I found a really interesting red Murano glass chandelier for my dining room and a couple of floor lamps that fit into the rather deco look I’m going for. Stopped by Bigelow for some skincare product (I’m currently on a Skyn and Perricone habit) and then headed to Malin and Goetz to check out their new line of candles. I missed out on stopping by Economy Candy this trip, as well as cancelling some spa treatments at hotspot Tracy Morgan.

Keep an eye out if you’re headed on the upcoming RSVP Mediterranean cruise next month: I’m now confirmed to be on the ship (big thanks to RSVP!) and plan on spending those 10 days in wild-on mode. I’m not entirely sure that the on-board steam room will remain a place of solace, but I’m willing to find out. *wink*

Thanks to eating right and yoga, I’m leaning down. I’ve already lost 9lbs and am now working fully into a washboard stomach, ripped chest and tapered V-torso. While I’m not planning on losing any more weight, I’m now working with lighter weights and max reps, which is always a surefire way to get that defined, vascular look. Against popular summertime request, I’m staying away from the sun, as well as the too-tangy looking spray tans. Embracing my white skin isn’t as tough as I had thought, especially considering how much damage we do to ourselves with just daily exposure to outside UV. Young gay men might like their dark tan now, but when they closely resemble Donatella Versace in their 30’s and have the skin texture of prosciuto, they’ll regret those endless days in the summer sun.

Smooth white skin and daily SPF is just fine with me, thank you.

For those frequent flyers out there, might I remind you that Virgin America is now open to online ticketing for flights beginning in late September. Just imagine a never-before-seen seatback entertainment system, self-serve mini bars, touch-screen ordered hot meals, high-speed internet in the sky and all of this offered in coach. Outstanding stuff, especially considering Virgin’s first-class fares are at least 50% less than their coast-to-coast competitors. This makes the reality of flying in true style something we can all afford to do.

Currently, Virgin is only flying a few transcontinental routes, with 10-15 additional cities coming online in the next 5 years (and San Antonio is one of them!).

I’m also headed back to the Apple, the new W property in the Maldives and Rio (before the weather warms back up). Look for new pics to post on my Google-Gallery, as well as a couple of singular Eye Candy postings here on 15mm. Also, keep track of me through my new Twitter Ticker at the bottom of this (and every) posting. From bumping into Rene Zellweger on 57th street to worldwide sexcapades, it’
s now easier and more instant than ever to find out what I’m doing… NOW!

Thanks for staying tuned,