Friday, February 24, 2017

We're here

For all the irrational hatred and the isolationist hypocrisy and the manipulative demagoguery Trump and his party are using to tear this country apart morally, socially and intellectually ... for all the ignorance they've perpetuated and the lies they've parroted to shore up their base ... for all the ugliness and hostility and racism and sexism and phobias they've unleashed from the dungeons and the shadows and the basest instincts of humankind this week alone ... they've ironically and unintentionally and no doubt regrettably inspired something quite beautiful: a mass uprising of love and support for every person they vilify and every minority they oppress and every demographic they scapegoat in their bloodthirsty quest to dehumanize and destroy us all for their own gain.

And if you're a trans person -- especially if you're a trans kid -- we want you to know we're here.

There are legions of us who have been and who currently are and who will continue to be your friends and allies and champions with no judgments, no condemnations and no barriers. We may not have been as visible to you as we'd have liked in the past out of consideration for your privacy or lack of a forum to communicate to you or even out of concern that we might inadvertently say or do something awkward or uncomfortable or insensitive around you. But we're here. And it is now our moral and social and just simply human imperative to make sure you know who we are.

Whether you're just coming to terms with your need to transition, beginning to comprehend the emotional and physical and social journey ahead of you, taking the first tentative steps in changing your persona and your presentation and your name, or standing bravely and confidently and proudly at any point on the transition continuum ... our primary interest in your trans identity is that you are safe and healthy and happy.

We may never fully comprehend the extent of what your personal or collective journey has entailed -- and we may ask a lot of questions both out of curiosity and a sincere need to better understand where you've been and where you're going.

But we're here. And we stand with you both at the urinal and at the dawn of a new sense of community. And we want you to know we love and respect you just as you are. Or just as you need to be.

We're here.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Very much enjoyed?

You "very much enjoyed" exhibits on the horrors of slavery and the cruelties of racism and the never-ending battle for civil rights in our country? Enjoyed? ENJOYED?

Did you even go IN the museum? Or did you just stand by the doors wearing your uneducated-rich-white-male-privilege blinders and waving to the media that you obsessively accuse of being fake but whose existence you'd die without while you struggled to think of a way to reduce a photo op in a long-named museum to a dismissive, meaningless tweet?


I'm touring the National Museum of African American History and Culture this summer. And I expect to weep in sorrow and horror and shame as I witness the gut-wrenching barbarity and oppression and indifference inflicted by white people on black people starting centuries before this country was founded and now proudly emerging from the shadows in the ugly Zeitgeist of your unholy, unpresidential administration.


I expect to be left numb and aghast and overwhelmed by what I've seen and experienced and learned when I leave the museum. I expect to be overcome with the same appalled, devastated sense of hopelessness I've experienced every time I've left the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. And I expect the experience to propel me ardently forward in what I profoundly and humbly hope is my perpetual evolution toward understanding and compassion and sympathy and kindness and decency and justice and a resolute dissolution of prejudices both acknowledged and undiscovered that I harbor.


The National Museum of African American History and Culture isn't a collection of exhibits celebrating the work of their curators. Describing it as "a great job done by amazing people" is at best an admission that you've never stepped foot in a museum and at worst a thundering declaration of deliberate, dismissive racism -- media-blasted after a perfunctory, last-minute charade of solidarity near the end of Black History Month, no less. Are you really that uneducated, uncultured and callous? Did you post this tweet to convince yourself that you're not paralyzingly uneducated, uncultured and racist? Did you do it to convince your supporters that you don't know that they are?

Did you honestly think this tweet would elevate your standing as a public figure? Elevate the national discourse on race and culture? Elevate what's left of your value as a human being?

Have you very much enjoyed what you've become?

Douchebag vanguard

After a long, brutal Iowa winter that once got so bad I had to find the shovel for my dad, it's finally 174 degrees today. Which of course means one thing: digging out the tank tops for the gym! Well, actually it means two things: digging out the mid-top sneakers, which by my alt-logic are only for warm weather even they provide the additional ankle coverage that is essential to winter warmth when you're handing your 77-year-old dad a shovel so he can clear the slippery driveway.

And did you know this? When you smoosh your arms on the preacher-curl bench for a not-staged-at-all douchebag gym selfie, they look way more jacked than they actually are. So I hear. But if science (yay, science!) proves this is true, it could revolutionize the douchebag-gym-selfie industry. We're at the dawn of a new era, people. So be sure to arm (ahem) yourself for the uprising. Or the smooshing. Whatever.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Follies: Come on along and listen

"Think of musical comedy, the most glorious words in the English language! Sawyer, think of Broadway, dammit!"

This year's Follies couldn't be any gayer if I flew onstage riding a kitten-faced butterfly blowing mirrored glitter bubbles out of its decoupaged unicorn horn while I belted the gospel of Stephen Sondheim in a macramé leotard.
And I mean that in the gay way.

It's a pole new world when you're on psych meds that finally work

Oh, yes. I totally went there. And the trip was a lot of pun. Yup. Nothing but pun and games. The pole damn time.

I drink the mountains

It's the breakfast of bipolar stability and OHMYGODLETMELIFTSOMEWEIGHTSNOWNOWNOW pre-workout energy. 

I swear this new C4 formulation is made with witchcraft and cheetahs. And maybe a few chemicals. Delicious, delicious chemicals. All in an addictive -- oops, I mean refreshing ... sorry, typo -- cherry-lime flavor. It puts you in a freakishly productive turbo-workout mode in seconds. But bring a towel; it makes you flop-sweat for hours afterward.

Monday, February 20, 2017

I'd like the selfie combo platter, please. With a side of shut up.

My lovely bride here has taught me two nights in a row now how to employ the modern-marvel technology of iPhone photo filters for our mutual benefit. These miracle filters can remedy uneven lighting, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles -- as the anti-aging-moisturizer industry so clumsily phrases the issue to avoid the inconvenient commitment of making any actual promises -- assuage the heartbreak of embarrassing oily shine, eliminate telltale ethnic features and -- if you filter our picture to simple, classic black-and-white duotone as she has done here -- perpetuate my above-stated illusion that we're two crazy young newlyweds -- neither of whom is in actuality a raging gay homosexual man who photographs as such in color -- honeymooning at an unnamed (so I can gossip on my blog) restaurant with a waitress who is committed to total transparency regarding her extended family's marriages, biological children, infertility issues, adoptions, incomplete educations, pregnant high-school friends, income levels, career disillusionment and declared lack of racism. For a full hour after closing time. Impressively without breathing even once so we could maybe jump in and transform her relentless monologue into perhaps a conversation. You know: like the kind two friends intend to have when they go to a restaurant and share a two-person booth. 

On the plus side, my I'm-clearly-not-listening face didn't deter our waitress for one second from delivering her full, no-commercial-breaks monologue and I was able to compose pretty much this entire post in my head so all I had to do when I got home was just type it. And my lovely bride here is moving away in a few weeks so I hate her anyway and all I really wanted out of the evening was a photo and an engaging caption I could post on my blog. So really, everybody wins here. Except for our poor waitress, who has run out of patrons to trap with engaging tales of her family's myriad secrets. But there's always tomorrow. 

Meanwhile, good night to the rest of us who've mastered the art of shutting up so we can sleep.

I swear I didn't plan this

The double-batman thing I mean. I totally planned the flex-gratuitously-for-the-camera-after-hiding-in-the-bathroom-because-the-gym-was-too-crowded-with-hot-straight-guys-I-don't-want-to-think-I'm-weird-for-taking-a-flexy-mirror-selfie thing. 
Yeah. That one's totally on me.

Flying around

First of all, Obama shouldn't use Air Force One to "fly around" for politics? I know you have no FUCKING idea what a president does -- or even the conventional way the presidential plane's name has been written since 19 FUCKING 53 -- but politics (and diplomacy, which you slowly destroy with each private phone call and each joint press conference and each painfully awkward handshake) is the EXACT reason presidents "fly around" -- as a toddler would describe it -- on Air Force One.  

And don't get me started on "play," you three-weekends-in-a-four-week-presidency Mar-a-Lago moron. I mean hypocrite. I mean liar. I mean asshole. I also mean demagogue, but you have no idea what that is. So I'll stick with asshole.

You're an adult. You have been an adult since the dawn of the Internet and the Information Age. You know that everything you write online is permanent and searchable and that when you're a prominent social figure -- even before you somehow become president -- every intellectually grotesque tantrum you voluntarily tweet will be found and used to hold you to the standards that you publicly and willingly establish by yourself for yourself.

You are too stupid to function in the public sector. You are too puerile to maintain reciprocal relationships of any public value. You are too morally and intellectually repulsive to manifest any public integrity. And you are beneath -- BENEATH -- contempt as any public figure.


So. Yeah. Manchester by the Sea.

I liked it. A lot. I didn't love it, though. And it wasn't the wellspring of emotional devastation I'd heard it was. I like to see movies and stage shows knowing as little as possible about them beforehand so I can experience their narratives organically as they unfold. Which can lead to some unexpected revelations; I somehow thought this movie was a Merchant Ivory-inspired tragic gay love story. And I'm confident that I won't be a spoiler by saying it is absolutely not that. It is, however, tragic. Profoundly tragic. And often in ways the director trusts you to connect the dots for using sometimes just a shadow of the narrative elements you're used to getting to reach your own conclusions and understandings. The movie's compounding tragedies are constructed in an almost casually layered story arc that mixes slow burn with operatic personal and emotional devastation.

Filmed in a palette of dried grays and browns and greens, the movie's visual vocabulary intersperses short, jerky cinéma vérité scenes that feel raw and improvised with sometimes bleak, sometimes pastoral B-roll that establishes locations, provides context or at times is there just because. And then there are the long pauses. They're slightly awkward and often uncomfortable, but they deftly frame key situations, propel the plot and speak volumes about the characters. And oh, the characters. They're complicated and tormented and messy and impossible to pigeonhole. But they're all foundationally good and decent people. Casey Affleck masterfully expands and contracts emotionally over time with sometimes hairpin turns and a spectrum of velocities as he process a hundred lifetimes of extremes. Lucas Hedges plays his 16-year-old nephew who faces tragedy and grief with the lashing-out confusion of a child tempered by the sobering resolve of an adult. They play off each other with a mix of familial love, cautious animosity and cultural stoicism that work both in unison and opposition as their characters orbit the circumstances of each others' lives.

I think the music is a huge distracting jumble of noise, though, jumping inelegantly from Handel to Ella Fitzgerald to quasi-religious choruses of oooing women. I assume the director was trying to mirror the jarring jumpiness of the cinematography with the same approach to the soundtrack, but it ends up belaboring the conceptual framework and ultimately just not working.

There are very good reasons the movie enjoys such critical and popular acclaim, though, and it's truly a revelatory, forward-thinking piece of cinema.

Sunday, February 19, 2017


Not did you know the fact that I'm a big screaming show-tune queen who reflexively bursts into the entire score of "On the Twentieth Century" every time someone inadvertently says "fiery pride" or "why, you filthy slu ... and so and so and so." And you'd be surprised how alt-often people inadvertently say those things around me. Not that I'd need them to; I'm so gay that when I was in grade school, every time the kids spun me around for Pin the Tail on the Donkey I turned into Wonder Woman. But somehow I wandered off topic here. That's odd. The point to this not-really-the-point paragraph is that pretty much everything on the playlist in this screen grab is a Broadway cast album. Except for the Hoodfellas "Raise Your Glass" remix, which really doesn't do much to underscore my feral masculinity either. Anyway, the point that I managed to derail only one sentence ago is that I bought all these Broadway cast albums -- plus about 7,492 more Broadway cast albums that don't fit on my screen -- using Amazon Prime. And my niece -- who's been here most of the afternoon niecesplaining and ITing all the forlornly misunderstood and unsynched and woefully underutilized Apple devices in our home -- just casually mentioned that I should download the Amazon Prime app and see what it does after I told her I had Amazon Prime, and within seconds HOLYSHITALLMYSHOWTUNESWEREATMYFINGERTIPS.

But before I go any farther with this narrative of childlike wonder over the magical marvels of modern technology, please note that I've been repeatedly using the phrase "Broadway cast album" and not "soundtrack" in my relentless insistence that I somehow might be gay. A soundtrack, for those of you who don't know that coriander makes the gravy grander, is for movies. A Broadway cast album, should you genuinely need me to Jakesplain it to you, is for football. (Kidding! It's for Broadway! Or is it?) Please memorize this distinction so you can self-righteously complain to the manager at Best Buy that "Soundtracks" is an overgeneralized, misleading and potentially emotionally scarring label for aggregating art like "On the Twentieth Century" with horrors like "Kickboxer IV: Butts Get Kicked."
The electronic world is a glorious and still-unexplored frontier of show tunes that are shipped to your door AND streamed to your phone on a free app (though the phone costs upwards of ten billion dollars). And today has been a day of emotionally fulfilling apotheosis of kicklining revelations on this topic. And it makes me very, very happy. But explaining it all to you makes me very, very not listening to my suddenly streaming show tunes. So so long and farewell and all that gay stuff.


Follies: Stick with me, Fellas

Selfieing (to verb a noun) some "Luck be a Lady" realness at Follies rehearsal with my weekly selfie buddy. 

I do not, for the record, advocate gambling because it just leads to jazz and liquor. But I make an exception in this case because the song is so damn fun to sing. And we get to roll 'em. Whatever 'em is. I'm guessing pie crust.

Get your Follies tickets here already

Curse my new iPhone screen! CURSE IT!

Now that I can see stuff again, I've spent most of my evening downloading and entering all my personal information into apps I won't ever notice again until I have to delete them to make room on my phone for pictures and music downloads. So it's been a productive night. How was yours?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Well, shit.

I just remembered that I was named the Anytime Fitness January Member of the Month but I never filled out my profile or submitted a pic for the lobby display. In my defense, I totally forgot. I mean my trainer never followed up with a reminder. But she's awesome in the sense that she regularly kicks my ass and she lets me call her the bitchmaster so I'll let it slide. This time.
Anyway, I guess we'll have to let this selfie (me? a gym selfie?) in front of the current member of the month display suffice, with my Batman shake mixer strategically placed to protect the innocent from my shut-up-and-get-back-to-your-workout blathering.
Chest and shoulders day!

Guess who just got his iPhone screen fixed in under an hour?

And guess who used that hour to scour the Lindale Mall retail diaspora to score the very last pair of 36x34 slim-fit jeans in a color other than cheapugly? And guess who has unleashed a whole new era of selfies without shattered iPhone screen glare?