Friday, December 24, 2010

Nobody Ought to Be Alone On Christmas


This Christmas Eve, fate has decided that I should be alone. Completely and utterly alone. I have not shared a gift, a toast or a warm hug on Christmas Eve for the first time in my life. I am never one to shy away from the unconventional but this experience, though not entirely my own doing, is taking it a bit far.

I've known for weeks that this somewhat solemn night was coming and I have consoled myself with the fact that as of December 26th my holiday time with friends, food and family will be fast upon me. However it hasn't made the day that much easier. Christmas is meant to be a time for miracles and magic. I have gone about my day as any other. I woke up, did some tidying about the apartment, went to the gym, ate lunch and headed to work. All the while, various, magical, made - for - TV inspired scenarios of how the day could turn out ran through my mind. I imagined that:

A) I'd meet the real Santa Clause on a bustling mid - town street corner.

B) While at work I'd make late night reservations for a handsome hotel guest who would invite me along with him and we'd fall madly in love.

C) Through a series of comical mishaps, I'd find myself at a homeless shelter only to learn the true meaning of Christmas while caroling with charming raggedy orphans, urchins, wenches and meth heads.

Of course none of this happened. But somewhere in there lies a little bit of Christmas magic in and of itself. Christmas is a time of year where we are all children, excited about the impossible whether it be mysterious stars that guide us through the desert, fat men in red suits who deliver gifts in the middle of the night or babes that will be born and change the world. Even in this, my worst Christmas ever, I can still imagine, hope and believe.

This sense of wonder despite the circumstances, is something of a small miracle all on its own. While I am not likely to repeat this experience, I am glad for it nonetheless.

As soon as I finish this second glass of burgundy and take in a little Peter Billingsly, I'll hunker down in my bed and enjoy my Christmas slumber. Who knows? Maybe there will be some spirits that plan on visiting me...

Merry Christmas. Keep Dreaming.

All my love,
Dan

Thursday, December 9, 2010

FOR BIG HAIRY NIPS...


Dear Bghrynips,

Thank you for contacting me on Manhunt.net with your message titled "A Question".

Before we address your profound and ardent epistle, I must say, my sympathies are with you regarding your screen name. I'm sure the actual handle 'Bighairynips' was already taken. Bummer! Nonetheless you did a great job removing those vowels and thereby crafting yourself a moniker that's just as bizarre and only a little more lame than the actual 'Bighairynips'. Kudos! But I digress.

Let us begin. I really appreciate you first sharing your age with me (if not your face.) It takes a truly brave soul to admit to being a whole 52 years old. It also immediately informed me that you are probably a very wise man indeed and anything you say should be taken in the highest regard. You immediately qualified your age by telling me that you're a gay man who lived through the 80's and 90's. Good move in presuming I'd have difficulty recognizing which decades the past 52 years has covered.

You then followed these generous details with the piece de resistance - THE QUESTION!!! You asked how a young man of my age, at this point in time, could possibly get HIV??? Wow Bghrynips! The depth and perspicacity of your query has sent me reeling. Geez, I've never considered that before. I am soooooo fooooolish.

You were also so sweet (and not at all passive aggressive) in letting me know it was not necessary to respond. You did all of this with such a flair for intrigue and mystery by never revealing your face or name. Maybe I should hide my face pics too? Or maybe I should at least delete the part of my profile where I let my potential sexual partners know that I am in fact HIV+ ? Or... whoah... hold on there Bghrynips, maybe I should delete my profile altogether!!! I should stop trying to have any kind of sex and stay home feeling nothing but guilt, stupidity and shame!

THANKS BGHRYNIPS! I was actually feeling a little bit like a loser for logging on to manhunt.fart at all but a missive like that from a HIV negative sage such as yourself really turned things around!

*****

Seriously though dude, it's gestures such as yours that only help to enable the spread of this disease. I proclaim my HIV + status on such websites in an effort to live responsibly. It is pious, self righteous messages such as the one you passed on to me that lead HIV+ men to feelings of shame, guilt and depression. These are messages we do not expect of our gay brethren but of right wing, religious extremists. It is those feelings of despair and shame that push people into silence about their status and thereby perpetuate the spread of HIV. There's a reason they say Silence = Death. So the next time you feel so inclined to get something off of your big hairy nips, pause and reflect upon the potential impact of your actions. Because you might not be messaging me. You might be messaging someone less confident who may react to your "well intentioned" communique in a way that is destructive not only to himself but to those around him and most dangerously of all, to his sexual partners. If you wish to see AIDS disappear, if you wish to see a world filled with happy, healthy gay men choosing china patterns and sprinting towards City Hall for marriage certificates... then do us all a favor and...

shut...

the fuck...

up.

Love,
Dan

PS: "And that, Marjorie... just so you will know... and your children will someday know... is the night the lights went out in Geor-gia" - Julia Sugarbaker, Designing Women

Friday, November 19, 2010

I'm Back!


My favorite episode of Absolutely Fabulous begins with the absolutely hysterical Edina (Jennifer Saunders) getting ready for a busy day of whining, boozing and door handle shopping . She puts on a pant suit and then looks at herself and desperately exclaims "I cannot be this person... not this person". She then rushes over to her closet and grabs a divining rod to help her select which awful, designer bit of garishness she'll throw on herself.

That moment from the dearly departed AbFab has always stayed with me. I love that expression and so often identify with that sentiment - "I cannot be this person". While I don't wear pant suits or over priced silver spandex tops, I have felt those exact sentiments when I've sat down to write in my blog. I open my laptop and look over the previous entries and attempt to replicate the tone of the majority my writing. I try to find something off beat, charming and whimsical to say. I attempt to be my best self.

The problem however, is that so often, I am simply not my best self. I am often sitting down at my laptop at the end of a long, insufferable day of making reservations at "The Spicy Market" or "Peter's Lugers" for demanding and often rude European tourists. Or I sit down to write after a long day of rehearsal or auditions that has sapped me of all wit. Sometimes I sit down to write and i can't focus because I am hung up on that last sharp toned email I may have received. Or I sit down to write and I'm totally depressed because I've broken up with my boyfriend. Or I sit down to write and I'm just feeling bitchy, critical and judgmental. Or I'm feeling defeatist. Or I'm feeling too absurd. Or I'm feeling frustrated because I'm obsessing about what to write in a blog that nobody reads anyway! It's like I'm screaming into a vacuum!

So for several months, I said "fuck it". I am simply not this charming persona I set out to be and should not continue to force that ideal on myself.

This was the wrong choice, in part.

Several months later and I'm saying "fuck it" again. I am not always this charming persona but that should not stop me from writing. That should not stop me from the wonderfully creative activities of observing, analyzing and reflecting. I should not stop trying to put those observations and reflection into words that form sentences which in turn form paragraphs and ultimately result in some sort of cohesive essay. So I say fuck it. I'm not going to worry about which person I'm going to be today but I am still going to write. I'm a moody bitch and I'm just going to go with that. The best thing I can do for myself is to be honest; to write honestly. So love it or leave it, here we go... again. It may not be pretty, and I may offend one of my three readers every so often or at the very least bore them regularly but I promise... to simply be me.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Broadway Bares Vs The Black Party


This past Sunday, I attended my first Broadway Bares. For those of you who don't know, Broadway Bares is an annual 'Broadway meets Burlesque' event, raising money for Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS. This year marked it's 20th anniversary. How I have never attended is a little beyond me as it is one of the gayest events of the year. And as we know... I'm like super, super gay.

Broadway Bares is held at the Roseland Ballroom. I have only been to Roseland for one other event - the infamous Black Party. Being in the space I couldn't help but compare the two events. Broadway Bares and The Black Party are oddly like twin cousins. The Black Party being the crazy Patty Lane who loses control at the sight of a hot dog and Broadway Bares would be the elegant, more refined Cathy Lane.

I am now going to break down their similarities:

  • Both are held at the Roseland Ballroom drawing in over 4,000 people.
  • Both bring together the gay community for an evening of sexual fun and bawdiness.
  • Both in a way force their audience to embrace sexual energy that feels defiant and gives the finger to HIV / AIDS.
  • Both involve a lot of scantily clad / naked men gyrating about Roseland Ballroom.
  • Both have the same weird sort of retarded old drug dealer, wandering around mumbling "Coke, K, Ecstasy".
And now... for the differences

  • Broadway Bares simulates water sports ; The Black Party's water sports seem a bit more... authentic
  • Broadway Bares showcases a lot of glittered flesh; The Black Party showcases a lot of leathered flesh.
  • Broadway Bares is a spectator sport; The Black Party requires a lot more participation
  • Broadway Bares involved a lot of wax and spray tan. The Black Party involves a lot of body hair and "natural man smell".
  • Broadway Bares costs about $55; The Black Party is a cool (and rough) $125.
  • Broadway Bares this year, raised over $1,000,000 for HIV / AIDS services in the community - as I watched the show I could feel my T- Cells rising; The Black Party, a commercial venture, made scads of money for itself with I'm sure an "appropriate" amount going to some chosen tax shelter.
How amazing would it be if the two events could meet somewhere in the middle? What if an evening existed that was a bit dirtier and a bit crazier than what Broadway Bares currently offers, yet more socially and sexually responsible than the Black Party? What if we could gyrate in leather while raising millions of dollars for social causes? What if we were rolling our faces off on Ecstasy while dancing along to a sexy strip tease number featuring Kristin Chenoweth and Vanessa Williams followed by a hot threesome in the play pen?

Could you imagine? Nobody would leave the Roseland Ballroom for at least a week.

Love Me,

Dan




Thursday, May 27, 2010

GORDO


There is a man who washes dishes at the hotel where I am employed. I am not kidding you, he is seriously one of the most unfortunate looking people I’ve ever seen. I am not writing this in retaliation to his estimation of my physical dimensions of which you are about to read. I just need to impart to you how absolutely crazy ugly this dude is so that there is no irony lost here.

For years I’ve seen him in the back of house hallways of the hotel and done my best not to avert my gaze. I’ve nodded quick hellos on the street on the way to or from or work. I’ve tried not to throw up in the locker room where I’ve seen him scratching his stomach and washing his feet. I’ve always thought, “that is the ugliest non-deformed individual alive”. He really looks like something that might have escaped from Middle Earth.

I don’t want to get into the particulars of his unpleasant visage and unseemly shape. I’ll let you form your own image in your brain. I simply do not have the literary prowess to do justice to this man’s ugliness.

So anyway, he’s ugly. Right? Well, we’re riding the elevator together. It’s late. We’re both leaving work. We’re alone on the elevator. We exchange the obligatory exchange about a long day and how leaving work is always nice. He has a thick Mexican accent with a voice that always sounds like he’s about to spew sediment.

Aside from my usual angst about being in elevators with people I don’t know, I am now wrestling with the guilt I feel about my sentiments towards this man’s mug. I am trying to be very casual, leaning against the elevator wall. Staring down at my totally uninteresting Converse clad footsies. As I stand there, leaning against the filthy metal of the service elevator wall, he points at my slightly protruding carrot top and asks “Whass going on Papi? You no make exercise?”

And yes folks... I've just coined the phrase "carrot top". I want credit. Something good has to come of this.


Love Me,

Dan

Sunday, May 9, 2010

TOTALLY NELLIE!


I love Little House on the Prairie. I always have. I always will. While I enjoyed Laura’s spunk and Mary’s lack of vision, there was one little prairie girl I always had a certain amount of extra affection for. This would be none other than Laura Ingalls’ tormentor, the prairie bitch herself, Nellie Oleson.Nellie Oleson, might be tied with Blair Warner from Facts of Life for the title of My First Gay Icon.

Nellie, primarily used as the antagonist in most episodes she appears in of Little House, was in my opinion, ultimately simply misunderstood. Here was a young girl who appreciated the finer things in life. Her dolls were from France and her dresses were from New York. She took piano lessons and spoke French. These refined qualities ultimately resulted in her being an outsider in the uncultured and uncouth community of Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Nellie was not quick to squat down in the dirt and shoot marbles or go climbing trees on the banks of Plum Creek with 'Half Pint'.

Sure Nellie was petty, judgemental and extremely manipulative but I always kind of identified with her. She was different than everybody around her. She was a passionate character with extreme emotions (that often resulted in various toys being smashed to bits) and she totally rocked a petticoat.


...and let’s not forget that her mother, Harriet Oleson was a total drag queen!


Nellie grew up as the series progressed. She married a Jew (*gasp*) and gave birth to twins, one of which would be raised Christian, the other Jewish. Nellie Oleson: Social Equality Pioneer.


...and let’s not forget those delicious blonde ringlets!

Nellie Oleson really shouldn’t steal all the credit (although she’s not above it!) Ms. Arngrim gleefully portrayed her in all of her rage and glory with a campy zealousness. Arngrim is something of a gay icon herself and a good friend to the gay community. Her Little House on screen husband, actor Steve Tracy died of AIDS in 1986. Since then Nasty Nellie Oleson, AKA Alison Arngrim has been a very vocal AIDS activist.


...so, yes, let’s not forget… Nellie married a queen!


Prairie bitch or prairie revolutionary? I’ll let you decide. I however know for a fact that if I had a choice between bailing hay with Laura and Mary and sucking on gumdrops while playing with a new phonograph with Nellie… I’d chose the latter.

..and finally, let's not forget the gayest thing of all ... her name is NELLIE!


Love Me,

Dan

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Letters to the End of the World


At Hand Theatre opens another show today. The play is called Letters to the End of the World. This show is not written by me. It is not directed by me. I'm not even in it! Not even a walk on! I know, why bother right? Here is why:
1) I worked very hard at getting this play produced.
B) it might be one of the most beautiful plays I've ever read.

This funny and moving play, gracefully flashing back and forth between New York City and Zambia, introduces us to a remarkable group of innocents as they confront the AIDS crisis and question their own ability to love and connect.

The playwright and director, Anton Dudley is a sensitive, thoughtful, hilarious and very gifted artist. I have spent years courting this script and trying to work with him on making it happen. Last summer, while I was preparing my own show (maybe you heard of it, it's called MY AiDS by Dan Horrigan?), I also directed a staged reading of 'Letters'. This experience, this play... how do I say this without sounding totally ridiculous... made me a much more expansive person.

No not expensive - I'm still totally cheap - expaaaansive.

At the time I was writing all about me and my view on and experience with HIV, I was also directing this reading of a play that addressed the AIDS crisis on a much more global scale. More importantly, the play uses AIDS as backdrop or even a metaphor for both the pain and beauty in this world that asks us all to share in the same collective human experience.

Working on Letters to the End of the World made me feel small and curious. It also made me certain that I am an awesome part of a much larger experience. I am part of an experience that's bigger than me. It's bigger than America. It's bigger than Africa (and that's pretty damn big!) The play inspired me to be a better artist... and a better person.

While I hope to have already sold you on this show, below you'll find a more literal description of the play as well as a link for tickets. Hope to see you there!

Love Me,

Dan


AT HAND THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS:

LETTERS TO THE END OF THE WORLD
Written by Anton Dudley

April 29th - May 16th, 2010

Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm

at Theatre Row's Studio Theatre

410 W. 42nd St. (btwn 9th/10th Aves)



A revealing article about the African AIDS crisis, buried deep in the pages of a fashion magazine, leads a young gay man in New York City to form an unexpected correspondence with a woman in Zambia. The friendship takes him halfway around the world to discover that Africa is much closer to his heart than he thinks.



Written and directed by Anton Dudley, the production stars Shannon Burkett (Dead City), Francesca Choy-Kee, Tyrone Mitchell Henderson (The America Play, The Tempest with Patrick Stewart), Peter O'Connor, andCharles Socarides (2006 Tony-winning Awake & Sing!), with set by Eli Kaplan-Wildmann, lights by Ryan Bauerand costumes by Nicole Wee. Donald Butchko serves as the Production Stage Manager.


Tickets are $18 - available HERE or by calling 212-247-4200.

Equity Approved Showcase.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bold Betty


Last Week Wednesday, Ugly Betty aired it's final episode. I am pleased it's over as I think all TV should have a four season limit (tops!) but I am of course sad to see it go. While it had it's ups and downs this season proved to be a landmark season particularly in terms of queer visibility.

I am sure Betty herself deserves all kinds of coverage and speculation as the show was about her but all I really cared about this final season was little Justin Suarez. I thought the development of this character's coming out was groundbreaking.

It was not groundbreaking in and of itself that Justin came out.

It was not groundbreaking that Justin was a teen coming out.

It was not groundbreaking that he was a teen coming out and kissing his new boyfriend on national television.

It was groundbreaking because Justin Suarez was effeminate. He was sprightly. He was bitchy, catty, sweet, stylish, sometimes foppish. There was often very little difference between his character and Haley on Modern Family! He was a ladyboy coming out, kissing and experiencing first love. I couldn't have been more proud of both Justin and his portrayer Mark Indelicato. But mostly I was proud of UB producer and writer Silvio Horta.

Horta had the balls to bring us gay characters that were not "straight acting" or "butch" and he made us fall in love with them, identify with them and root for them. Horta managed to create a show where the not altogether masculine character could be over the top, queeny, sexual and still deserving of romance and love. How refreshing to see a little queen not only have hormones but also same said queen gets to act on those hormones! Ugly Betty broke the boundaries of what was 'palatable' (a most distasteful word) with nary a bit of self consciousness. It strut about in it's various time slots over the years, just like it's gay characters - being whoever the fuck it wanted to be.

When sweet little Justin had his first technicolor kiss, I thought, 'Jesus had this happened on Wednesday night at 9:00 when I was in highschool, my whole life woulda been a little different.' Every day that a gay marriage ban is enforced is another day that our government, our nation tells young gay people that they are not worthy of love. I am in awe of the Ugly Betty folks for telling them otherwise... and for letting them know you can be full of sass to boot.

Love Me,
Dan


Friday, April 9, 2010

BROADWAY RECYCLED...




So my theatre company is doing this little show. I mean it's no big deal. It's a fundraiser.

Ugh!

You know how those things go. Dullsville. It's gonna be some people singing at some dive called Joe's Pub
on Sun April 18th. It helps to raise money for my company (I know we're so annoying) and proceeds go to the Broadway Green Alliance. I guess they're some organization that helps make Broadway more eco - conscious? Lame. Right?



So now comes the part where I tell you about the people involved. For your sake and mine, I'll keep this brief. They tell me that some guy Mario Can-whatever will be in it. He's some actor / comic guy. I guess he was in that show Sex and the something? I dunno. He's supposed to sing and be funny and stuff. Whatever.




Also there's this dude Anthony Rapp. He's gonna perform too. He was in that musicale. What was it called? He wore a scarf and held a camcorder and hung out with people with AIDS and shit. And he was in Adventures Baybsitting.






There's also the whole cast from that other show. What was it called? We Don't Have a Title? The No-Name Show? But anyway they'll all be there. Jeff and Hunter and these two chicks that hang out with them. Woo- hoo!

OK. I'm almost done! The evening will feature music that was cut from musicals. Some of the songs are by people like that country singer with the big boobs...



...and that old guy that writes songs. What's his name? Stephen Soderbergh?


So anyway, you probably shouldn't come.

You should definitely not BUY YOUR TICKETS BY CLICKING HERE!!!

And you should definitely not be super lame and buy the $100 ticket that gets you front table seating and a bunch of free shit.

Or you can just be kinda lame and buy the $30 tix.

I'll be there... only because I have to. You comin'?

Love Me,
Dan

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Lord of the Land


LANDLORD. What a weird and archaic word. Have you ever thought of the breakdown of this word? Land - lord. The term is completely medieval. Maybe I would have a more positive view on the title if every landlord I've had hasn't been kind of a total loser in his own special way. I unfortunately have had to play modern day serf to a number of cigarette dangling, fast talking, poorly clothed and entirely inept lords of the land for many many years now.

My first New York landlord was taken off guard the day we pulled up with a U-Haul ready to start moving in. The Landlord (who was occupying the apartment) had somehow forgotten to move out and do any cleaning at all. As my roommates and I stood on the front porch crying in the pouring rain, the landlord and his brother began to pretty much throw their belongings and spare furniture down the stairs. They hurriedly and spastically raced about hurling chairs, blankets, pillows and tchotchkes down to the first floor hallway. They "cleaned" the apartment for us by filling up buckets of soapy water and dumping them all over the floor. In between the hurling and dumping they kept shouting down the stairs " Almost ready guys!" and "we'll have this place clean in about 10 minutes!"

Awesome.

But still, better than my previous (Buffalo) landlord who thought the best way to deal with the rotting, wooden, front porch was to place a soon to rot piece of plywood over the ever widening hole. I had several unfortunate (read intoxicated) run ins with said hole. This landlord took a similar approach to the moldy bathroom ceiling as well. I was very sober the morning that came crashing down on me mid shower.

I should be thankful for my current landlord. While lazy and whiny, his appearance is ultimately the most offensive thing about him. He's a little bit Barney the drunk from the Simpsons and a lot Hoggle from the Princess Bride. I initially thought he wore the worst toupee ever slapped on a scalp but I have come to realize that it is in fact his very own hardened, crusty hair that has been permanently yellowed by the cigarette that inevitably dangles from his lower lip... even when he's in my apartment!

He lives across the hall and for the most part responds to maintenance issues when I bring them up. Still, though, he is always looking for a way around the issue or more likely, having to pay to correct the issue. Sometimes this results in the most ludicrous line of questioning.

My landlord on a faulty stove pilot: "Well did you try to re - light it?"

On a mysterious puddle of water in my bedroom: "Well did you maybe spill a pot of water?"

On a wobbly toilet: "Well were you standing on the toilet?"

Yes I was standing on the toilet. I was jumping up and down on the toilet. I was DANCING ON THE GODDAMNED TOILET! Because that's what I do when I'm unwinding from a stressful day. I come home, put on some music and make like Michael Flatley on the porcelain throne!

Ugh!

Until I can get it together to buy my own little place and start struggling with 'Plumbing for Dummies' (or more likely pay a professional) this is what I am left to deal with. But you'll have to excuse me for now, I have a jar of mildew that I have to rub all over my window panes.




Saturday, March 13, 2010

'Reality' Check


I have never been a huge fan of reality TV. As the millenium turned, I failed to tune in for Survivor, Big Brother and had previously only been an extremely casual viewer of any editions of The Real World. I will admit I give over to a sense of schadenfrued every once in a while when I stumble across an episode of My Super Sweet 16. I always look forward to the inevitable moment when the possibly mob connected Eastern European dad who lives in a Long Island McMansion with his gaudy wife and spoiled daughter utters the classic catchphrase, "Whatever my baby wants, my baby gets! She is Princess!" It's a wild example of the American Dream gone completely haywire.

Aside from random moments like this, I can't get into the format. I need scripted drama. I need writing, lighting, wit and story. I need a real score, a proper soundtrack. I need to be lifted out of the hard lensed world I see around me and transported to another time and place that is mic pack free.

Because my reality intake is so low I rarely recognize any of the reality 'celebs' I frequently interact with at the hotel I work at. Last week it was only after I was done assisting a pouty, pushy, pint size, princess of not-so-Italian descent that I learned she was none other than one of the young stars of a recent reality smash hit. (I'll give you a clue: her name rhymes with cookie).

Cookie busted through a line of weary travelers donning a spray painted, graffiti trucker hat and furiously texting. She informed she was 'checkin' in'. She was so little she could barely see over the desk, not that it mattered to her because her face was glued to her Blackberry Curve. I (begrudgingly) welcomed her and then asked for a photo ID and a credit card. She didn't have one and had no intention of paying for her room. "VH1 is sposed to be payin' fuh dis" she snapped. The little firecracker dropped a few expletives and began texting with even greater gusto.

After several tense moments I was informed as to who she was and I was (begrudgingly) advised by management to just let her in and get a credit card for the incidental deposit. I looked down at her driver's license and noticed her date of birth - 1987. Here I was, a 31 year old, intelligent, talented, hard working individual toiling at the front desk of a hotel assisting a 22 year old child who uses far too many double negatives and whose greatest contribution to the world is getting punched in the face.

At that moment I understood exactly where I stood in the scheme of things, where I fall in the pecking order. The American Dream has gone completely haywire. And that's a reality.

Love Me,

Dan






Friday, March 5, 2010

CLOSING NIGHT


"A heart is not judged by how much you love but by how much you are loved by others."
- The Wizard of Oz (1939)

The New York run of MY AiDS is over. I spent a day in mourning. By "mourning" I mean, lounging around in my PJs eating 5 pounds of Baked Ziti and drinking 3 gallons of Diet Coke while catching up on my DVR list. I tried to process the whole MY AiDS experience while fast forwarding through commercials.

Throughout the whole run I received so many congratulations. I was told I was brave. I was asked if it was a cathartic experience. I was told I should be proud of myself. I was told I should be celebrating. I guess I just haven't processed all of that. I don't know if I am brave. I know I'm fuckin' funny. I know I tell a good story. That's all I really wanted to do. I wanted to share my story so that the audience could laugh about shit that is scary and so that we'd all feel a little less isolated.

To me MY AiDS is very much a story about isolation. It's a story about what happens when you close yourself off from the people who love you and you stop communicating. After I tested HIV positive I decided I could no longer do that. I needed to start sharing my fears, my sadness and my problems with my closest friends.

Not only did this group of friends show me love and support - They encouraged and helped me to PRODUCE MY FUCKING PLAY!!!

Thank you NICK for listening and believing.
Thank you MICHAEL for being fiercely determined.
Thank you LISA for giving me art.
Thank you KIMBERLY for taking me to church.
Thank you JUSTIN for making it all happen.

But mostly I would like to thank these people for saving my life and saving my soul with their love and humor.

I have no clue if doing the show was cathartic. I don't know what I've gained from this experience and I don't know what, if anything, will come of it. But I do know that I will never feel alone again. I can never get too depressed knowing that this group of people is rooting for me. I am so blessed. My heart is so full.

Thank You.

Love you,

Dan

Saturday, February 27, 2010

You're So Lame... You Probably Think This Blog Is About You


One of the greatest mysteries in pop culture has been revealed... allegedly.

38 years ago, Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" hit the airwaves. Since the release of this seminal hit, the real life subject of the song has been a constant source of speculation. Everyone from Spiro Agnew to Patti Smith has been considered to be the one with "the apricot scarf" who likes to watch him / herself "gavotte".

Despite constant winks and nods on the matter from Simon herself (like every time she releases a new album), it is has been a generally accepted belief that it was Warren Beatty whose horse naturally won in Saratoga. He in fact called Simon on the telephone to thank her for the little ditty.

Turns out that phone call was indeed in vain. The Mystery ... *ahem*... man has been (supposedly) revealed as... DAVID FUCKING GEFFEN?!!

What???

This is such a disappointing reveal on so many levels.

First of all, David Geffen? She a queen gurl! Look, I can see David Geffen wearing an apricot scarf and when I do imagine him he is often indeed "gavotting." I also have no doubt in my mind that Carly Simon may have been a psychotic fag hag back in the day. However, the story at this point is that Simon wrote the song at a time when she felt Geffen was giving stronger promotional support to Joni Mitchell.

If Elton John had recorded this song... the David Geffen thing might make sense. Hell, if David Bowie had recorded it, it would make sense. But to think that Simon's always sort of obnoxious but playful post break up dirge is actually about resentment towards Joni Mitchell?

All of this has come about via a new recording of the song. Apparently, if you play the newly recorded version of the song backwards, you can hear Simon whispering the name "David".

Now here's where I am coming from with all the "supposedly", and "allegedly"... I have listened to this clip. To me, when played forwards you hear Simon say the words "wee wee". When you hear the song played in reverse, it sounds to me that Simon is again, saying "wee wee".

Ummm..."Wee wee".

If you are like me and are just not technologically hip enough to have a record player, you can listen to the clip here.

I don't want to believe that Geffen and Simon were ever romantic. I don't want to believe that Simon was ever that resentful of Mitchell. I don't want to believe that Warren Beatty isn't the one who put those clouds in Carly's coffee.

So for now I'm just gonna keep hearing "wee wee" ... and continue to enjoy Carly Simon.

Love Me,

Dan

You can buy tickets for MY AiDS at athandtheatre.com











Friday, February 26, 2010

Danny's Sense of Snow


It has been snowing non stop for over 24 hours. Traffic is curbed, commutes are extended, people are trudging through the streets, plows are swiping, shovelers are grunting and I... am loving it. I love a good dumping of snow. And I do not get to sit inside my cozy little apartment, sipping hot cocoa and dreaming up blog poetry while watching the flakes gracefully float to my windowsill. I hafta leave my apartment shortly and get on a very slow moving subway, schlep across 2 city blocks and then go into work in a HOTEL where I will have to deal with very angry travelers who are immobilized and will treat me as if I had something to do with it. And I will wish I had by the time I am through with them...

My tolerance or even enthusiasm for snow is definitely a sign of having been born and raised in Buffalo, New York. My history and experience with snow is a pretty joyful one. I love snow because I have such wonderful snow memories.

OK, picture it, Buffalo, winter, 1980 something...

I feel like there was just a lot more snowfall in the 80's. In my memory every day between November and May up through 1990 is recalled with mounds of thick, wet heaps of snow piled everywhere!

After a heavy snow fall our neighborhood often became a veritable winter wonderland. Now summertime was always a time for a late night game of hide and seek or a tent sleep out in the backyard but winter always brought you in right at supper time and then you stayed there.

I remember one night (back in, oh we'll say '87 for the hell of it), after a long period of heavy snowfall and pretty well into the evening, the whole neighborhood for whatever reason came out to play. The clouds had cleared and now a bright moon shone making the perfect unmarred, sparkling, mounds of snow look like something from a Rankin - Bass Christmas special. Parents helped each other shovel driveways and dig out cars. We kids, after bundling up into ten layers of clothes AND THEN putting on snow suits and moon boots (can't forget the moon boots!), took the 'hood by storm. We ran wild through the snow filled, partly plowed, traffic-less streets.

I remember being thrilled and terrified as my bestie, Julie Inglut and I sat in the long orange plastic sled while her brother ran as fast as he could, the rope of the sled attached to his waist. This resulted in a collision with a pretty well packed wall of snow created by the plows. This collision of course resulted in tears from both me and Julie. Quickly recovering, snowball fights ensued. Forts were erected and razed, snow was tasted and deemed "really, really good" or "kinda salty". Laughter and screams shot across the crisp, dark blue night air over the whirr of a snowblower and the clack, scrape and dump of many shovels up and down the block.

Of course the evening ended wet and tired, parents remarking on the Campbell's soup-ness of their children. My sisters and I were peeled out of layers of damp clothes and slipped cozily into footy pajamas and warmed up with Swiss Miss.

Buffalo claims to be the 'City of Good Neighbors". It certainly is in a blizzard.

Enjoy the snow and just try not to eat it.

Love Me,

Dan

You can buy tickets for MY AiDS at athandtheatre.com


Friday, February 19, 2010

AND ANOTHER THING...


One other thought on this not so nice review...

If I can take it up the butt... I can certainly take it on the chin.

I think I'll be just fine.

See you at the show!


Love Me,

Dan

You can but tickets for MY AiDS at athandtheatre.com


So First I Get AiDS... And Then A Bad Review!


I had an absolutely lovely opening weekend. Yes, the house could have been a bit more full and yes I could have done without the couple of technical snafus, but all in all I had a really good time. I really just enjoyed myself. I enjoyed telling my story, connecting with the audience and having a good laugh with all of those around me. Most importantly everybody else seemed to be having a good time as well… or so I thought…


Tonight my roommate Nick and I had big plans: dinner and Kathy Griffin at MSG! So before the show, Nick and I sat down to dinner (which was totally comped – one of the perks to being a New York Celebrity hotel employee.) One martini in and before the main course I pick up my hand held device. (I don’t like to call it a phone because I have the iPhone and I always feel like calling it a phone is a little too ironic as I can never actually get phone service) I checked my email and here I blame Google... and their damn alerts. Ok, I signed up for them but still, right before some tasty risotto and Kathy Griffin? The alert was for a review of MY AiDS.

This particular review (which is sadly the only one so far) was not glowing. I guess it caught me off guard. I hadn’t considered that not only would my performance, writing and story be reviewed but my perspective, my thoughts, feelings and sort of mental state about being HIV positive and growing up would be up for analysis. I should have by all rights realized this. That is what I’m presenting… but damn it’s a somewhat bitter pill to swallow.

But not so bitter that Kathy Griffin couldn’t wash the taste out of my mouth. Nick and I headed over to MSG, we fought crowds and traffic and took our seats (second row center, another perk of being a Star of the New York Stage hotel concierge) and I laughed very, very hard.

We headed home and the conversation fluctuated between bitching about the review and laughing over parts of Kathy Griffin’s show. I’m still thinking about the review (obviously) and probably won’t stop until a fist full of Ambien takes it’s course.

There are parts of the review I agree with and a lot that I disagree with. I'm not going to get into picking the review apart piece by piece. I am a bigger woman than that.

But not big enough a woman to post a link to it.


Please note however, it did describe me as young... a "young man". That part I can run with!


It’s a lot to think about but what I do know is that I enjoyed myself this past weekend. In doing this show, I have enjoyed my life more than I have in years. And I’m going to enjoy it next weekend and the weekend after that. And I’m sure you will too… but don’t tell me if you don’t! So I’m just gonna turn off the Google alerts, put on my Chuck Taylor’s, don my signature plaid shirt and tell my story the best way I know how… by being honest.

Love Me,

Dan

You can buy tickets for MY AiDS at athandtheatre.com