Saturday, March 31, 2018

We’re here.

For all the irrational hatred and the isolationist hypocrisy and the manipulative demagoguery Trump and his vile, desperate, defiantly hypocritical sycophants 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 ... 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 in person 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.

#TransDayOfVisibility

Thursday, March 29, 2018

I hope her death is long, painful and humiliating. And soon.

I read Flesh and Blood by Michael Cunningham years ago in a book club in Chicago

Even though I was an English major in college I'd pretty much lost all interest in reading fiction by then -- and still to this day -- preferring instead to bury myself in books about social science and American and European history. But I DEVOURED this book for our book club. Then a couple years later I devoured it again. And for some reason, something reminded me of it a couple weeks ago. Then I had an opportunity to bring it up in a conversation soon afterward. And now I want to devour it a third time. If I still own my original copy, it's currently filed away in one of more boxes than I can count in my climate-controlled storage locker across town. So I ordered another copy and it arrived last week. And I can't wait to devour it again -- and since I've decided to forgo being in shows all summer so I can focus on training for all the Running Away From Being 50 races I want to do, I'm also going to attack the piles of books I've purchased over the last few years but have yet to even alphabetize by author on my shelves. Because that's how I roll.

Anyway, in Flesh and Blood Cunningham crafts a richly complex family narrative that germinates literally from the imagination of an eight-year-old boy as he plays in his father's garden in pre-war Greece. That boy -- mightily named Constantine Stassos -- eventually emigrates to America, marries an Italian immigrant, and becomes the imperious and by degrees powerless patriarch of an expanding family dynasty whose story is told both as a beautifully messy, eminently human drama and as a faceted metaphor for the American Dream filtered through a prism of post-war immigration, the uncertain but dogged progress of cultural assimilation, and the inconstantly evolving boundaries of familial love and obligation. It's as engrossing as it is complex, and as beautiful as it is essentially American.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

#ArmDayFail

Well. I just did three sets of 40 lb dumbbell curls with a 40 in one hand ... and a 35 in the other. Without noticing. Which portends for me a day of unmitigated success at walking in a straight line and paying attention to detaif,

Anyway, here’s the arm I didn’t screw up:

Monday, March 26, 2018

Another performing adventure has ended at my beloved Paramount Theatre

And this time I stopped before I packed up and left to take a picture of this awesome door:
It’s literally where a hole was cut high into the side of the gilded, lavishly baroque auditorium (specifically an alcove above the audience-left mezzanine) to link it to the austere new addition with all of its modern dressing rooms and bathrooms and showers and elevators and laundry facilities and its comfortably appointed green room with refrigerators and a wide third-floor window offering a southern view of downtown Cedar Rapids. I love how you can stand where I took this picture right next to a sleek stainless steel elevator surrounded by the clean walls and neutral carpet tiles of the modern addition and peer through this door and see the brilliant reds and golds of the rococo carpeting that hint at the breathtaking, venerable grandeur waiting just around the corner.

I grew up in awe of—and in love with—the Paramount Theatre, and I’m so thrilled and honored and humbled not only to get to perform on its century-old stage and enjoy the distinct privilege of looking out into the vast sea of lustrous golds and merlot velvets of its auditorium on a happily regular basis, but also to see first-hand the backstage additions and upgrades and enrichments to the expanded facility that will take it—as I see through the metaphor of this door—beautifully into its next century.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Things I may or may not have but let's not kid ourselves totally got out my credit card and bought on Amazon:

Flashback Friday: Proto Tattoo Edition

Here's my big-ass shoulder tattoo back when it was a henna prototype going through my rigorous R&D testing:
Fun fact: Henna tattoos last a good long time, unless you spend that time being boiled alive in a hot tub on a gay cruise. Then they quickly fade to a smeary bruisey purpley brown, which lingers for about 48 unattractive hours before they mercifully disappear.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Happy birthday, Stephen Sondheim!

Thank you for redefining musical theater. For redefining music. For redefining theater.

Thank you for composing music that's at once asymmetrical and balanced, halting and fluid, atonal and lush, messy and perfect.

Thank you for finding lyrics that explore the outer limits of rhythm and structure and rhyme, that tell a story or define a character or celebrate a moment or break a heart in sometimes just a handful of words, that always seem fresh, that always seem timeless, that always seem effortless.

Thank you for creating an apotheosis of creative and intellectual order, design, tension, composition, balance, light and harmony.

Thank you for inspiring as only you can an enraptured little boy to think outside his own thoughts, to feel outside his own feelings, to never stop searching for the perfect word or the lyrical phrase or the essential defining idea in a universe of creative entropy, to always make sure he's proud of how he creates and proud of what he writes.

And thank you for the phrase that I rely on almost daily to turn an undefined someday into a compelling now to pull me out of inertia and propel me sometimes through a bipolar fog and sometimes just through my own complacency to run a marathon, broaden my perspective, take on a challenging writing project, upgrade to a difficult tap class, find a solution, emerge unscathed or at least unbroken, or some days to just show up.

Careful the things you say; children will listen. And sometimes they'll turn your words into kick-ass tattoos.
Feel the flow,
Hear what's happening:
We're what's happening!
Long ago
All we had was that funny feeling,
Saying someday we'd send 'em reeling.
Now it looks like we can!
Someday just began.

Come and get it while you can, my dudes

I’m getting heterosexualer and heterosexualer by the hot second in this faux-satin periwinkle leg o’ mutton wing-collar chemise festooned in shimmery tonal sequins.
#FolliesLife, yo.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Sunday, March 18, 2018

#SundayShowtunes: Big-Ass Rock

I've got a friend
Like Carole King--or was it Carly Simon?--used to sing.
I always get those two confused.
But anyway ...

Friday, March 16, 2018

Flashback Friday: Dad 'n' Lad 'n' Plaid Edition

Fun fact: I found that plaid coat at Sears and insisted that my mother buy it because my dad had a similar one -- and they ended up LOOKING EXACTLY THE SAME. Plus they doubled as grill cozies and never melted or wrinkled. 

Other fun fact: Those never-waste-a-scrap-of-material-EVER patchwork dresses are probably now serving time as quilts somewhere in the house as we speak.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Pi Day came back!

When it's 5:11 am ...

and you’ve been pointlessly wide awake so long that you’re tethered to an outlet because you’ve drained your phone battery in a YouTube clickhole, you stumble on this forgotten gem of Sondheim + Liza + Pet Shop Boys gaysplosionness—which is made mega-extra fabuloso with the addition of Spanish subtitles because SPANISH SUBTITLES and there’s nothing more Sally Durant Plummer than losing your mind looking at a coffee cup as the dawn breaks with SPANISH SUBTITLES.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Betsy DeVos has released her search history to show that she did as much research as she could think of to prepare for her 60 Minutes interview

Fuck trump. Fuck evangelicals. Fuck their fucking arrogant hypocrisy.

This is all well and good, but the trump sheep are going to ignore or dismiss anything Stormy has to say, just like they're doing for all of trump's other sexual grotesqueries that used to be the wedge issue of the reich wing's long-abandoned "family values" joke of a platform. Tony Gayface Perkins literally said that he and the "religious" evangelicals are giving trump "a mulligan" on his half-century of pre-president sexual atrocities.

Their active, hypocritical approval of his lifetime of adultery and sexual assault is fucking the country just as violently as trump has fucked every woman he's been able to get his revolting 239-lb body on.

Aloha!

My intrepid, brilliant, humanitarian-minded niece is as we speak flying to Guatemala with her Spanish class to do community service work and then explore the country from the valleys to the volcanoes. Meanwhile, her white, privileged, North American-insular, US-resident uncle has found himself humbly obligated to do some googling to learn that Guatemala is NOT, in fact, in South America but is five countries north of Panama on the Pacific side of the narrowing continent.
Fun fact: Guatemala is also in the central time zone—though it doesn’t have stupid Daylight Savings Time, so I’m sure my niece and her Spanish class have wicked jet lag. ¡Qué lástima!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Remember this two-seconds-of-fame trainwreck?

Apparently she’s still desperately clinging to relevance among the anti-vaccination crowd, bless her little boobs. I love how her scientifically based arguments here derail from “Do you even know FOR A FACT ...” to “I’m pretty positive ...” in just two incoherent sentences.
I ask you, whom would you trust: teams of scientists across multiple disciplines doing over a century of research in labs and controlled studies around the world or Tila reading misspelled conspiracy theory sites on her phone in the TJ Maxx employee break room?

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Don’t forget to turn your clocks forward tonight to get us all one hour closer to the impeachment and incarcerations

LEARN FROM MY PAIN AND HUMILIATION:

When you stumble on assorted three-packs of your favorite underpants—which never go on sale for 50% off—on sale for 50% off, before you avariciously put them in your online shopping cart and order them, take a moment to make sure that the reason they’re on sale for 50% off isn’t because THEY’RE COVERED IN FEARSOME SYMBOLS OF CRUEL, GRISLY DEATH.
(Ooh, look: One pair is in a charming windowpane check!)

#WeirdStuffICollectOnMyPhone

#CedaRound: downtown Cedar Rapids coolness