Saturday, November 21, 2009

Judy Shephard's Statement on Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado's Murder

I received this statement from Judy Shephard via Christopher Pagan, the amazing man that broke the story of Jorge (George) Steven Lopez Mercado's brutal murder to the world. Judy Shephard is the mother of Matthew Shephard. Matthew was murdered in Wyoming in 1998.

Statement from Judy Shephard on the Murder of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado

Dennis and I, and the entire board and staff of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, stand with all who are grieving the loss of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado in one of the most shockingly brutal hate crimes in Puerto Rico’s history.

While we are grateful to the local law enforcement officials for their swift work to apprehend the suspect in this terrible crime, we remain deeply saddened that yet another family should have to suffer the pain of such a tragedy, and that such breathtaking violence continues to be directed at gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people who are simply trying to live their lives honestly and openly.

For another young person to lose their life and be taken from their family and community due to fear, prejudice and hatred is simply unacceptable. Each of us who believe in freedom and equality must remain vocal, active, and unrelenting in calling for justice.

Our thoughts are with Mr. Lopez, all who knew and loved him, the members of his community and the millions worldwide who have been touched by his senseless death. Our family and the Foundation will continue to work to prevent similar tragedies in any way we can.

To learn more about the Matthew Shephard Foundation click here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Jason Mattison, Jr. Murdered in Baltimore

I am sitting at my computer, drying tofu and waiting for a college friend to come over, so we can have dinner, drink wine, and enjoy each other's company. Up until I opened my Facebook a moment ago and saw an article posted by my friend and fellow blogger Andres Duque, I took every single moment of my day supremely for granted.

Today Jason Mattison, Jr. reminded me to pay attention and to be grateful. Yesterday it was George Steven Lopez Mercado. Both of the lessons came at the cost of these youth's lives.

What the fuck is wrong with motherfuckers in this world?

I mean come on. Jason was raped, stabbed in the throat and face, gagged with a pillow and shoved in a closet in his Aunt's house. He was murdered by a friend of the family known to be a violent criminal and yet somehow they let him in the house and left him alone with this boy? WHAT THE FUCK! I might love the hell out of a good friend or relative that snaps and does violent harm to someone, but you can bet from that day forward that person will NEVER be alone in a room with anyone that is precious to me...especially a child.

And what really pisses me off, once again, is that since this was a black child that was murdered in Baltimore in a poor neighborhood, there will be no massive Matthew Shepherd outcry. There will not be massive candle light vigils around the country. There will be no massive legislative intervention by the HRC or NGLTF or any other national advocacy group. I am so tired of the fact that OUR children, our beautiful brown and black children, are continuously sacrificed and pass out of this world without a tremendous roar by every breathing loving person that understands that every single human being is precious. FUCK YOUR RELIGION if it tells you that a gay child should not complain when he or she is killed. FUCK YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD if people get off by harassing and slamming queer kids just trying to grow up. FUCK YOUR SCHOOL if it does not immediately boot anyone that thinks its ok to bully or shame someone because of their perceived sexual orientation or perceived gender identity.


I want to see white straight male Republican capitalists that own overseas assets crying on TV about this child's murder. I want WHITE LED LGBT ORGANIZATIONS to organize the marches and vigils and remembrances of this baby. I WANT A GODDAMN NATIONAL ACT TO ELIMINATE POVERTY in this country called the JASON MATTISON JR and GEORGE STEVEN LOPEZ MERCADO ANTI-POVERTY AND WELFARE RIGHTS ACT that also includes a provision that provides for Puerto Rico to become a free and independent nation with a guaranteed annual no strings attached AID package of 100 billion dollars a year for every year that Puerto Rico has been a U.S. Colony, which is 110 years and counting.

Remember Jason Mattison, Jr and his family in your thoughts and prayers. And once you are done praying, call someone and tell them about his murder, then call your neighbors, your schools, your legislators, your ministers, your police force, and anyone else that needs to be called and told that our youth are inherently sacred, valued, loved, cherished and no one has any right or reason to dim or put out their light.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

George Steven Lopez Mercado Murdered in Puerto Rico

Say his name: George Steven Lopez Mercado. Say his name every day, out loud, until he receives justice. George Steven Lopez Mercardo was brutality murdered, his legs and arms ripped off, his body partially burned, decapitated, and his torso ripped in half near Cayey in Puerto Rico. Thanks to an iReport by Christopher Pagan we know about this tragedy. No thanks to CNN or any other major U.S. News Source.

Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States. Since 1898, the U.S. has owned Puerto Rico and used it as a fat cash cow. Each year the island pumps more than $20 billion in tax and other revenue into the U.S. economy, yet the island exists as a third world country, its per capita earnings each annum is about half that of Mississippi or roughly around $8,000. As a colony, the island is required to follow federal laws, the FBI has jurisdiction on the island, and the U.S. is responsible for enforcing basic human rights standards. The fact that there has been almost no coverage of this heinous murder of a well known queer youth in Puerto Rico is endemic to the role of Puerto Rico in the U.S.: most people don't know we own it, it's a cheap vacation spot for U.S. tourists, and we don't care about the island unless the islanders get restless.

I do not support the recent hate crimes legislation signed into law by President Obama specifically because it is going to increase sentences for people of color. But, since it has been passed and signed into law, and since Puerto Rico is under federal jurisdiction, the law needs to be applied thoroughly to this case. And since every damn news outlet in the country covered the murder of Matthew Shepherd, here is a chance to set racism and colonialism aside and remember George Steven Lopez Mercado.

It's bad enough that this young man's life was brutally ended, but the detective, Angel Rodriguez, in charge of the investigation has basically said that based on George's sexual orientation, he deserved what he got. Excuse me?

I am willing to bet that the police detective has had his cock sucked more than once. Bugarrones make me sick.

I lived in Puerto Rico. I know that the queer community there is vibrant. I also know that I met more "straight" men that liked to take it up the butt than anywhere else I have ever been.

First off the F.B.I needs to take over investigation of this crime.

Secondly the police detective that made the fucked up comments regarding this tragic murder needs to be fired and charged with compromising an investigation, obstruction of justice, and intentional assholery.

Then the individual or individuals responsible for this crime need to be locked in an iron cage and dropped off the tip of El Morro Castle directly into the ocean.

Thank you to Christopher Pagan for bringing this to our attention, and thank you to for ensuring that Christopher's iReport has gotten the coverage it deserves.

George Steven Lopez Mercado, you will not be forgotten.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Shit Talk

I had a tremendously satisfactory poop this morning. While power turds were shooting from my bottom with tiny glorious splashes in the toilet bowl, I thought about how much I love to take a poop.

Now let's be clear. I am not into scat. If you shit on me, you had better meet at least three of the following four criteria:

1) I gave birth to you
2) You are less than a year old
3) No court in the world would declare you mentally competent
4) You have amoebic dysentery

If you do not meet three of those four criteria and you shit on me, kiss your Mama goodbye and prepare to meet your maker cuz I am going to put you directly in a hole in the ground with a shape that exactly matches my fist in your heart. I will start chanting "O Num Shabyum," like that crazy mo'fo' in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and snatch your blood pumper straight up out of your chest.

But, for real, I love to take poops. Next to sex and writing, it is my favorite pastime. The good Lord knew what he was doing when he placed more nerve endings in your anus than anywhere else in the human anatomy except the clitoris (if that isn't a selling point for butt sex, I don't know what else could be). And when you have a gloriously poopy morning when your body decides to give itself a colonic, well that is generally a sign that your going to have a good day.

Seriously, sometimes when I am on the Porcelain Power Seat, I get real upset if I run out of crap before I finish the chapter of the book I am reading. Ever since I jumped into exercise high gear and built up my abs, I have been pooping much more efficiently and quickly, so I have not been getting my good reading time in lately, and that is messing with my Book-A-Week average. Hell, I read the entire Bible on the toilet. I kept a good old Precious Moments Newly Revised King James Version that I got for Christmas when I was 12 on the back of the toilet for a couple of months, and my Revelation was that God made Poop and saw that it was good. Amen.

I am also fascinated by the changes in my poop from day to day. Like when I eat a bunch of collards, I basically shit "hooker green" poop for the next two days. If I eat a lot of rice Chex it comes out grainy and stringy, and if I eat Lucky Charms it turns bright green from the dye in the marshmallows. And since I love hot peppers I also get a nice warming sensation in the morning after a night of extra spicy deliciousness.

1-2-3-4 It Is Pooping I Adore! GO TEAM GO!

It's the little pleasures in life that will sustain us in this crazy shifting world of ours.

Friday, November 13, 2009


So I love Minnesota. I betcha could never guessed. My beloved homeland has been in the news quite a bit lately. From electing Al Franken to the Senate and giving the Democrats the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster (that is if Lieberman's dumbass doesn't go all Sarah Palin rogue) to once again being at the top of the healthy, livability, education, arts, and economic recover lists...the land of 10,000 lakes (actually 11,842 lakes) is pretty much the best state in these here United States.

I even found out recently at a party with a professor of linguistics that the Minnesota accent is the fastest spreading in the country and can now be heard as far south as Kansas and Missouri, east to Ohio and west to Nebraska. BOOOOOOOOOYA!

Sure the state is frozen over from mid-November to mid-April. And yeah I remember once it snowed on May 1st, and there was that one time that it snowed four feet over night on Halloween and I went trick or treating with a sled, but other than the time when the air temperature with windchill was -90 degrees and the Governor shut down all the schools in the state, Minnesota is awesome.

Minnesotans are also the toughest creatures on the planet.

I mean I just explained to you that other than Polar Bears and Penguins, no other living creatures roam about in -90 degree weather except Minnesotans. And not only do we roam about, we throw parades. There is a parade called the Holidazzle that runs every night from Dec. 1 until December 31 at exactly 6pm along Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. That is after nightfall ya'll. Almost every January we build a LIFE SIZE castle out of giant ice blocks and put on a festival we call the St. Paul Winter Carnival. Every year the city of St. Paul buries a golden medallion in the snow somewhere in the city and thousands of people search for weeks for the medallion...the lucky winner takes away $15,000. The longest dog sled race in the world outside of the Iditarod takes place in Northern Minnesota. Those cowboy boot wearing pansies in Texas ain't got nothing on Minnesota pride or Minnesota tough.

It also helps that we have several of the top public and private higher education institutions in the world in our little old state. My high school, Patrick Henry, in North Minneapolis has been named one of the top high schools in America by U.S. News and World Report every year for about a decade, and who else has the Mall of one else that's who. Shoot.

Oh yeah, and we were the first state to include gender identity in our state's human rights act. DOUBLE BOOOOOOOOYA!

We've elected six independent governors in our state's history, and Minneapolis has 22 lakes within the city limits. Sure, we have a ridiculous shit stain asshole of a governor that would have sucked whiskey from George Bush Jr's tit if he thought it would get him into the White House, but, you know, we can't be PERFECT otherwise those nasal talkin' cheese eatin' Sconnies would want to move into Minnesota. I would have to hire some Minutemen to move to Minnesota and guard our Eastern Border. I welcome undocumented immigrants to Minnesota. It's Wisconsinites I can't stand.

Minnesota is the shit. You betta recognize!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ragtime on Broadway Fucked My Ass Up

So I basically spent the last two hours being angry as hell and crying like a little biznatch that got beat in the face with a morningstar dipped in acid.

Ragtime is the best piece of theater I have seen in a long damn time. It's better than Wicked, and since I named my penis Gregory McGuire after seeing Wicked...that should tell ya'll something.

Ragtime is a revival of a play from the late 90s. It is officially re-opening this Sunday at the Neil Simon theater just up the street from my house. Today was a preview matinee. A friend of mine, that I met through David, had extra tickets to the show and sent me a text earlier this afternoon to ask if I would like to see the show.

I had already had a midday cocktail as today was a day off for me, and I was debating whether or not I should go. Ragtime was on the top of my list of shows to see, so I figured I should get my lazy ass up off the stool and go check out the show for free.

I haven't decided yet if it was a good choice.

So, in a vacuum it was an excellent choice. The show was fucking phenomenal. The music was incredible, the performers were outstanding, the story was great and original, and the stage/sound/lighting are going to win this production a Tony.

In relationship to my mental health after two days of intense labor and already being soul tired before I went, it was probably a poor choice.

I didn't know what the show was about before I signed up to see it. I knew it had black folks in it, and I knew that it must be set in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as that was the hey day of ragtime music.

In actuality the show wove the stories of two Jewish immigrants, a well-to-do white American family, and a black woman and her child, and a Harlem based successful ragtime musician. The play addressed issue of workers right and industrialism. Emma Goldman figured in prominently as did JP Morgan and Booker T. Washington. The gist of the play is that a poor black woman abandons and then is reunited with her infant. What she thought was an itinerant musician tracks her down and tries to build a life for her. Unfortunately, she is beaten by whites and killed. As often happened, the legal channels of justice did jack shit to remedy the situation, and the musician goes ape shit and kills three white men. And I say halle-fucking-lujah to that.

Of course in the end, the black man is shot down by the authorities, and Booker T. Washington's assimilationist and white washed negro ass advocates for the wronged musician to trust the wheels of justice which roll right over the musician.

The entire story is told through brilliant musical numbers and frankly I cried from sadness and ridiculous anger.

I am so tired of being angry. I wasn't sitting in the audience angry at some historical injustice, I was angry because the EXACT SAME SHIT HAPPENS RIGHT NOW EVERY DAY AND NOT A FUCKING THING HAS CHANGED fundamentally. Sure, overt racism in the criminal justice system is no longer permissible but violent crimes against black men by the police have not substantially dipped in a generation, white cops that kill black men almost uniformly get off no matter HOW obvious it is that the shit that went down was a case of fucked up white men shooting down a black man who only had a wallet in their hand, and institutional and structural racism, though mitigated, remains rampant in so many ways. I love Obama but his election has meant little to jack shit in the substantive day to day realities of black folks living in America.

Didi I mention I am tired of being angry. I really am. I am so emotionally drained. I know that when I came home pouring a delicious vodka drink was probably not the best answer, but it was a readily available one. I know that my man is going to come home in an hour or so, and he should not be subjected to the ridiculous and irate feelings that are pumping along with adrenaline through my veins. But, seriously, right now at this juncture I am utilizing every tool that I have to just survive this rage without reverting to old drugging patterns or pulling out a hatchet and going Jason Voorhies on the asses of whatever poor white souls I meet on the street below.

I am sure tomorrow I will be my old chipper self again, but today I am pissed as hell.

Oh, and btw, go see Ragtime. It is worth the ticket price.

Homohop star Tori Fixx to release digital greatest hits album!

NEW goodies coming SOON for DIGITAL distribution from Big Milo Records/VYJ2!!

It's the premier Big Milo Records/VYJ2 release from:
Tori Fixx..."The Fixxology" (VBIG-CD-1402 / 8 12782 81402 3)

Tori Fixx’s Digital Only “The Fixxology” Release Slated for December 8

(Los Angeles, CA) Big Milo Records announces a new Tori Fixx release set for December 8, 2009. The project is a DIGITAL-only release entitled “The Fixxology” and is a completely remastered compilation anthology of Tori Fixx’s decade of remixes and two new tracks that indicate his new musical direction.

“The Fixxology” highlights fan favorites from his decade of work and also familiarizes others to the artist’s older material that many new fans may not be aware of. “The Fixxology” features remixes of “Respect the Situation,” “Take Care of U,” “1 Mo’ Nite,” and a completely transformed “Reciprocity,” which is the first official radio single. All tracks on “The Fixxology” have been completely remastered and brought up to modern production levels. This is Tori Fixx today, yesterday...and yet to come!

“The Fixxology” will be released on December 8, 2009, with an MSRP of $9.99 for the full release of 21 tracks. Certain songs will only be available with purchase of the entire “The Fixxology” release.

Tori Fixx is a producer and out hip hop artist who has released over 7 albums in his career - his music is a blend of hip hop, funk, soul, and pop. He has been profiled in The Advocate and Out Magazine. He has also appeared on the Tyra Banks Show and CNN's Paula Zahn Now. He was just nominated for two Outmusic Awards for material released in 2008, ("I'm the Same," also on "The Fixxology") as well as Producer of the Year for his remix of Guy B's "Co-Exist."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Doggy Style

I am totally, absolutely, totally, head over heels in love...with a dog.

Her name is Mimzy, and she is the boss of me.

About six weeks ago, David and I were talking about how we missed having a dog around the house. David spent hours flipping through webpages on Jack Russell Terrier adoption sites. One day, he sent me a picture of this little face staring up at me out of a red blanket. I was frickin' hooked. I ran into the studio, and I told David that this was our girl.

We took the train to Central Connecticut, and then we borrowed David's Dad's truck and drove to Boston on a rainy day when I had the flu in order to get our new girl, Mimzy.

It has been a love affair since then. Now, I know I am biased as a parent, but literally people stop us on the street because she is so damn cute. She has unusual markings for a JRT, and she is basically so laid back that sometimes I wonder if she's dead. She is generally ridiculously delicate and very inquisitive...actually at the moment she was sniffing the cacti in the window sill.

She is also smart as hell.

So she hates/loves the canned air bottles I have and use to clean my keyboard. But it's not just the cans she flips out about. If the can is sitting by itself on the shelf in her view, she is absolutely ok with it. She knows that the can isn't a threat unless I touch it. But let my hand stray near the can or touch it, and she loses her mind. And she does one of two things: She either snaps at my hand OR she grabs the can of air via the straw attached to the nozzle and drags it away from me. She does the same thing with the self-inking address stamp I have for work. As a matter of fact, yesterday, I looked over my desk and she was on the bookshelf. She grabbed the stamper, very softly, dragged it onto her sleeping pallet, and stood over it looking at me as if it dare me to try and touch it.

I got nipped in the man titty today for teasing her with the spray can. Mimzy ain't no joke.

In the last couple of weeks her personality has really come through. She is sweet and playful. She's a trickster, and she is a lover. And she has totally captured my heart and the heart of Michael Urie the dude that plays Mark on Ugly Betty. He hasn't more than nodded in my direction but when Mimzy enters the dog park, he is all about her royal cuteness.

Monday, November 9, 2009

20 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall

I remember November 9, 1989 very well. I was living in Brainerd, MN, and I was a 7th grader at Washington Middle School. Though I can't remember the name of my 7th grade civics teacher, I do remember a few things: 1) He was hot, 2) He expected us to know what was going on in the world, 3) He gave me extra credit for reading Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, which fucked me up emotionally, 4) I found the first modern fantasy novel I ever read, Spellfire by Ed Greenwood, underneath my chair in his classroom, which has led to a life long fascination with Sci Fi/Fantasy, and 5) it was that Civics teacher that informed me that the Wall had come down.

He walked to the front of the class in some jeans that made his booty do a double bounce, and he said to us, "The world has changed forever, the Berlin Wall has come down."

Sometimes I take things a little too literally. I immediately looked out of the classroom window expecting to see something amazing...Unicorns humping in the middle of Oak Street, my church, which was just across the way, glowing with heavenly lights, or my Civics teaching floating on a cloud, naked, asking me to join him.

Instead my heart full of anticipation became a hard on of disappointment, the world looked exactly the same. But it wasn't was it?

By the end of that year a whole host of new countries or old countries with new freedom emerged in Europe, and I was pissed. I had just memorized all the countries of Europe and their capitals, and all of a sudden a half dozen new ones showed up without as much as a "How do you do?" Cheeky.

Later that night I returned home, and I watched video of the Knight Rider aka David Hasselhoff singing some stupid song on top of the Berlin Wall. The world had changed indeed.

20 years later Europe has moved to the edge of becoming one unified political structure, most of the European Union has adopted a single currency, old enemies are now new friends, and the new political closeness has bred an atmosphere where questions that were once taboo (such as the Armenian genocide) are now being asked and answered. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Near Universal Health Care vrs. A Woman's Right to Choose

Last night the United States cleared a major hurdle and took a huge step towards near universal health care coverage for all U.S. citizens. (Please dissect this sentence: near universal means 96% of Americans covered, it is not a singer payer system, and it will only cover citizens and not undocumented workers...which leaves huge amounts of work to do).

Of course, in grand U.S. fashion, there is also direct and immediate work to do in that in order to pass the House version of the bill last night, an amendment passed that would restrict any federal insurance programs from providing abortion services to any woman except in the case of rape, incest or a direct threat to the health of the mother. Conservative Democrats and Republicans banded together to add this piece of Religious Right assault on a woman's right to choose to the health care bill. The hope for the amendment was two fold: 1) conservative Democrats and GOP members hoped that by restricting a woman's right to choose more liberal Democrats would change their vote and the whole bill would fail or 2) the bill would pass and the amendment would survive through the Senate version and make it into law.

Thank God that liberal Democrats stuck to their guns and passed the bill. I hate the attempt by the Right to restrict a woman's right to choose, but I still support the House bill. Here's why:

The Senate version of the bill does not include the language restricting abortion rights nor will it. The make up of the Senate simply does not require that the language be included in order to gain 60 votes. Frankly, no Senate Republican, except perhaps the two women Senator's from Maine, will back the Senate version of the bill. The fact that it is two women from Maine are moderates and Sen. Snowe has supported reproductive rights for women. I am not sure what the viewpoint of Sen. Susan Collins from Maine, also a Republican, happens to be on the issue.

Now let's remember how a bill becomes a law. In general the House takes the lead in the legislative process. Traditionally the Senate will not debate or vote on a bill (other than treaties, Presidential appointments or other Constitutional procedures that need action by the Senate only) until the House has passed a version of its own. Both chambers often work on bills simultaneously but the House acting as the chamber of the people is given first dibs to present their bill. Once a bill has been passed by the House, the Senate goes into debate mode. In general, the Senate does not consider the content of the House Bill other than in broad generalities. The Senate is comprised of individuals with tremendous power that have all sorts of interests. The Senate then passes its own version of the bill at hand (or fails to pass a bill, which either kills or restarts the process from the beginning). Once the Senate version of the bill has passed the for real for real work happens

Here's the part that most U.S. citizens really do not know or understand: the Conference Committee.

The Constitution requires that both houses of Congress pass IDENTICAL bills. Both houses pick members of a conference committee. The Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House, specifically, choose these people. In general there are a few token members of the committee from the minority party in each house and a larger delegation from the majority party. Now pay close attention here, the conference committee almost has carte blanche to re-write the bill into the form that is most likely to pass both chambers. They, themselves, can add or subtract provisions of the is during this most undemocratic of processes that all kinds of pork barrel projects end up getting inserted into bills. The President, also, tends to have folks in or near the room to make sure that the key provisions in the bill backed by the White House are in the final bill. The committee then sends its final version of the bill back to both chambers for a final vote. Often, but not always, big differences in the two bills are axed.

This is why we have to act NOW. First of all, we need to put pressure on our U.S. Senators to get a good final Senate bill passed and make sure that there is no anti-choice language in the final Senate version of the bill. Once the final version of the Senate bill is passed, it will then be our work to make sure that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid know that whoever they appoint to the conference committee better know damn well to make sure the anti-choice language does not end up in the final bill.

The Republicans, which are in the minority, know that they will not be able to pass any anti-choice stand alone legislation themselves. They also know that right now the only branch of government firmly in their control is the judiciary. If, God help us, the anti-choice language makes it into the final bill passed by the House and the Senate, it will be the best chance since Roe v. Wade that the Right will have to strike a blow, at the Supreme Court, over abortion rights. Simply put, the restriction worked into the bill would, most likely, under Roe v. Wade be declared unconstitutional. Except, of course, if in reviewing that section of a new health care law the Supreme Court decides that, in fact, the Roe v. Wade decision was wrong and reverses it.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the insidious and diabolical intent behind forcing the language into the House bill, and it is why we all need to do what we need to do in order to make sure it doesn't end up in the final bill and become law.

Even with the language in the bill, I believe that covering nearly all U.S. citizens with health care is worth it. It is my commitment as a man to fight like hell to make sure that the final bill that becomes law does not, once again, create a win on the backs of women's rights.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ganymede Poets One Anthology Hits Bookshelves

first annual anthology of all 38 poets published in the first six issues of
the gay men¹s quarterly GANYMEDE
172 pages, 6x9² perfect-bound paperback book, illustrated throughout with
thematic photos
Purchase link, details, sample pages:

" innovative, nearly overwhelming new player among poetry

"There is more queer life between these covers than in virtually any gay
novel..."--Top British gay poet GREGORY WOODS in Chroma

"First in a promised series of annual collections, this strong debut sets a
high bar of quality."--Rainbow Reviews

POETS: David Ayllon, David Bergman, Bryan Borland, Brian Brown, Brandon Lacy
Campos, C.P. Cavafy, Matt Cogswell, Sean Patrick Conlon, Steven Cordova, Ron
Curlee, Jase Donaldson, Edward Field, Christopher Gaskins, R.J. Gibson, R.
Nemo Hill, Matthew Hittinger, Walter Holland, Lee Houk, Jee Leong Koh, Matt
Loney, Jeff Mann, Dug McDowell, Mark Milazzo, Stephen Mills, Michael
Montlack, Robert Kulovec Müller, James Newborg, Eric Norris, Sergio Ortiz,
Jon Rentler, Gregg Shapiro, Christopher Steven Soden, John Stahle, Matthew
Stradling, P. Viktor, Ocean Vuong, Cyril Wong, Zhuang Yisa

CURRENT ISSUE: Ganymede #5
Edmund White, Oscar Wilde, Glenway Wescott, Paris at the birth of
photography, 10 poets and 8 gay artists featured from around the world

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Name is Peaches

I am sitting in my living room, after dark, listening to Four Women by Nina Simone. For those of you not familiar with the song, you can listen to it here. In the song she sings the story of four women: a slave, a prostitute, a mixed girl, and an angry post-slavery woman.

Alice Walker wrote in the Color Purple that when you first see the shores of Africa, it's as if someone strikes a chord inside of you. This song does that for me.

Nina Simone sings with such soft power, boiling down four caricatures representing epochs in black history yet encapsulating in four minutes the reality of a 400 year period of history.

The first three verses are matter of fact, and then she sings the last verse:

"My skin is brown. My manner is tough. I'll kill the first mother I see. My life has been rough. I'm awfully bitter these days. Because my parents were slaves. What do they call me? My name is Peaches!"

No other song I have ever heard in my entire life has ever compacted into such simple verses a vitriolic anger that simply, radically, and unapologetically holds the anger of all those held in bondage plus the weight carried by and lived with by their descendants.

Slavery ended 142 years ago, and I am still pissed off.

I have heard so many times from so many people (almost uniformly not black) that they don't understand why black people are so angry. They don't get why we still carry a burden "laid down" by ,at this point, our great-great-great grandparents. In fact, the only people that I have met that actually understand are Jews. Genocide whether 142 years ago or 60 years ago is carried in the DNA of those that survive it.

When I hear Nina Simone sing "Black is the Color" or "Four Women" or "Strange Fruit" or any number of her songs, I can hear the pain and anger that is carried and is righteously held in her for all of us that share those same terrible roots. And like all things grievous it can be healed, but never has the United States shown the will or the willingness to go beyond an apology to the amends necessary to heal those old yet still fresh and festering wounds. name is Peaches as well.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One Liner of the Week: Joshua Mandelbaum

So Mr. Joshua Mandelbaum is the boss of me. Literally. He is my boss.

Today we visited the amazing Eastern European Hottie Zone (the name of the real site has been changed to protect the innocent) on the upper East Side. Recently remodeled, this place is stunning, and it is where we are having our annual benefit dinner next week.

We met a lovely staff person there by the name of Michael. Michael was a hotty Eastern European man wearing tight jeans. When I got back home, I IMed Joshua and told him that I had a crush and Michael and that Michael and I would be making out in the coat closet during the benefit.

This was Joshua's response:

"Either he has the soul of a fawn or he was crushing on you too."

I almost peed on myself. Oh my straight boss how funny ye be. And that, ladies and trannies, is the One Liner of the Week.

United States of Afghanistan or NYC Democracy Dies

Welcome to New York City, the capital of Venezuela...or maybe it's Ecuador....or perhaps Cuba...or maybe Haiti....could be the Central African Republic....might be Liberia...pick a place that has had a dictator that has engineered an overturn of constitutional or legal term limits...and had themselves re-elected...and that is what New York has become.

The next time that someone has the nerve to say some shit about a "Latin American dictator" engineering their own perpetual electoral victories over the will of the populace, I am going to punch him or her in the face and scream "BLOOMBERG" at the top of my lungs.

I am a wee bit depressed.

Last night, I spent a couple of very chilly hours on a street corner in Astoria encouraging folks to cast ballots for Lynne Serpe. At the site where I was standing, more than a dozen people passed by letting me know that they had, indeed, voted for Lynne. The people that voted for Lynne were damned excited. It's rare to see people that are happy about voting. Other than Obama voters, I have never really had that experience (well, people that voted for Peter Hutchinson in the Minnesota Gubernatorial election in 2006 also were extremely confident in the justness of their votes).

Lynne last night managed to bring in 23% of the vote against an extremely popular incumbent. Lynne was the Green Party candidate, and she out fundraised, out organized, and out shone Peter Vallone, so much so that he launched an attack direct mail piece days before the election in which he did NOT attack Lynne but instead attacked the Green Party on an issue of "national security."

Vallone was one of the diabolic cadre of fucknuts that voted to overturn TWO popular referenda that established CLEAR term limits for city wide office holders in the city of New York. I swear to Sweet Jesus that if a Latin American leader used a parliamentary vote to overturn two popular referenda in order to hang on to power, there would be screams and shouts and bellows and condemnations from every "democratic" corner in the world. France would tsk tsk, the UN would issue a statement, and the U.S. President would have harsh words for X President that would instantly become a "dictator" in the popular imagination.

Yet, just as with the election stealing of George W. Bush, when dictatorial anti-democracy behavior happens in the United States it is chalked up to the wheels of democracy turning and Divine Providence.


I am so fucking pissed off today. I was so depressed last night that I ate two McDonald's cheese burgers, an order of fries, three fried chicken wings, a slice of cheese pizza, two empanadas, and three mini pigs-in-a-blanket. Talk about stress eating.

It so deeply fucks with my mind that the general populace so readily and blindly accepts the "Do As We Say Not As We Do" philosophy without thought. The same douche nozzles (thanks Gracie) that scream about the vagaries of young democracies are the same ones that hop, skip, and jump to participate in the gutting of democracy right here in our own back yard.

Last night was a democratic sham. Michael Bloomberg is a fucktard billionaire that proved once again that the rules of democracy do not apply to the mega wealthy. Peter Vallone is a small dick bastard that should be strung up by his nutsac with chicken wire dipped in sulfuric acid for his crimes against democracy and his electorate.

I declare again that America is about as much of a democracy as I am the Prince of Wales.

As the French would say, "FUCK YOU BLOOMBERG AND VALLONE."

PS Minnesota once again proves that it understands democracy as St. Paul, the state capital, has joined Minneapolis in approving Ranked Choice Voting as its preferred election process. THANK YOU FAIRVOTE MINNESOTA!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Everyday Heroes: Divine Grace

She's creepy. She's kooky. She's a smart ass. And she's spooky. The Divine Grace Family *snap* *snap*

Just playing, well except for the smart ass. That's just the God's and the Grace's own truth, and I love her for it.

Divine Grace aka Chad Pace is a bright and shiny human being wrapped inside of a drag queen cocoon, and I am hard pressed to think of a more gifted writer and more brilliant person walking around this planet.

Technically, I met Chap Pace just shy of 15 years ago when I was a freshman in college and living in Asheville, NC. More recently, I reconnected with him, originally, through the "Are You Interested" application on Facebook. I had no idea that I already knew this individual, I just thought he had pretty eyes, and over the last couple years of Facebooking, I have come to reknow and love this amazing human being.

Let me tell you why.

Divine Grace is a truth speaker. In her writings and her rantings, she uses comedy pushed to the edges and astute insight and an absurdly powerful gift of stripping the shit from the shingle and serving it up as a delightful cocktail for your funny bone in order to dissect the ugly of the world and reveal it for what it is. I am in awe of Divine Grace.

I am humbled by Chad Pace.

Chad Pace is a sweet man that moved home to the Blue Ridge mountains to be with his family and take care of his sick father. Far away from his chosen home, he has managed to remain spiritually strong at a time of intense pain. He has put on the back burner what, from what I can tell, has been a thriving career as a performer in New York, in order to be there for a man he loves dearly. And while I have a deep and treasured love for Asheville, North Carolina, being an out queer in Western North Cackalacky ain't nothing like being oneself, in all its drag glory, on the streets of New York (btw, it is no fluke that Divine Grace is one of the fiercest Queens in place I have ever been...not even Atlanta...has produced the quality of performers as has that Gay Bermuda Triangle from Hickory to Asheville to Charlotte).

Chad Pace and Divine Grace are a testament to how to live rightly in the world. He doesn't hide his pain, but he shows us how to live with it and to embrace it. He speaks truth when it is difficult and looks damn good doing it. He is a brilliant thinker, a tremendous performer, and if the bitch doesn't get his ass on Project Runway with his home sewn recreations of shit like Idina Menzel's dress from Wicked, I am going to personally kick his ass back to Appalachia when he finally does return home.

Like many people in the world, I love you Gracie. Kiss your Daddy on the cheek from a colored stranger he has never met. Take good care of yourself, and come home when you can.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


One of the greatest blessings of my life is that I have never doubted the existence of God. Though I have lacked faith in the moment, my belief in a power greater than myself, yet intimately connected to myself, has never foundered. Lord knows I have been angry at God, and each and every time the anger was misdirected, I have always had the steadfast certainty that there is a God, who goes by names and many faces, but a Creator that is love and was there in the beginning and will be there in the end.

Most recently, I have started a faith journey in the Nichiren Buddhist tradition. For those of you that are unfamiliar with Nichiren Buddhism, it is a Buddhist path championed by Nichiren Daishonen, a 14th century Japanese monk that espoused the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha (Siddartha Guatama) and taught that the Lotus Sutra, the last Sutra developed by the Buddha and taught by him in his last three years of life, was the highest form of Buddhist thought and was the most direct path towards enlightenment.

In fact, unlike other schools of Buddhism, Nichiren Buddhism teaches that one can reach Nirvana and the end of the cycle of birth, death, rebirth and suffering in a single lifetime through study, faith, and practice, which is embodied in chanting nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the translation of which is "I dedicate myself to the mystical law of cause and effect as expressed through sound." Basically, what you do comes back to you.

Now, in attending local meetings in Harlem and gongyo at the Cultural Center, I have met amazing people, and I have met zealots. Zealots from any faith path are a huge turn off to me no matter how noble the faith or how pure the intentions. Zealotry only exists in the context of dogma, and, officially, Nichiren Buddhism is non-dogmatic. Meaning, it is a faith without a moral code of conduct, as the code is embodied in the choices made by each individual, and, jointly, an individuals salvation is also a personal responsibility--there is no magic prayer that can be said to a deity that will result in absolution and evolution, your forward movement is your responsibility.

Many of the people I have met in SGI, the lay organization of Nichiren Buddhism, are former Christians that either were turned away from the faith through the hateful or hurtful acts of its adherents or failed to find meaning in Christian worship for themselves. Officially, Nichiren Buddhism is atheist in practice but accepting of those that believe in a higher power. By atheist, I do not mean that Nichiren Buddhism denies the existence of God but it believes that whether or not there is a God a person may find Nirvana through their own works and faith and practice. Indeed, Nichiren Buddhism is based on the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha who did, indeed, believe in gods.

Officially, in its writings, SGI welcomes people of duel faith. Unfortunately, I have encountered one too many people that have been disdainful or discounting of my choice to continue a faith in God. I personally believe that the teachings of Christ and the teachings of both the Buddha and Nichiren Daishonen are in accord. The Christ and The Buddha both taught personal responsibility. Both taught that you are responsible for your own salvation and your own actions. It is only the Church, created as a temporal agency with an eye towards power and control, that created an external path of salvation that is dependent on the Church.

SGI members know first hand how an institution can corrupt a faith, which is why in 1991 SGI was excommunicated by the Nichiren Buddhist priesthood for refusing to bow to an institution that claimed hegemony over a faith's teachings. It is saddening that some individual members of SGI practice a personal dogma that attempts to undermine the faith choices of other practitioners walking the same path.

Thankfully for every overzealous individual I have met in SGI, I have met 10 others that are perfectly willing to allow me to understand God and my spiritual practice, including the incorporation of Nichiren Buddishm, in my own way.

I believe in God, and I believe in the power of nam-myoho-renge-kyo. I do not see them as mutually exclusive, and I do not see any conflict in my Christian upbringing which has been critically examined and critically deconstructed through my own faith practice and the new faith practice I have found in SGI Nichrien Buddhism.

Zealots of any kind are welcome to keep their puritanism to themselves. There are no gatekeepers in Nichiren Buddhism and those that I have found that have espoused a dogma and cultishness that has no place in Nichiren Buddhism need to reflect on their faith instead of trying to manipulate that of others. I am a Christian Buddhist, and I plan to continue that faith journey without permission from anyone.

God bless us everyone, and may the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin and Shakyamuni Buddha guide our steps.