A quote I stumbled across that talks about the leap of faith in my desires that I’ve been trying to make lately:
Curiosity can bring guts out of hiding at times, maybe even get them going. But curiosity usually evaporates. Guts have to go for the long haul. Curiosity's like a fun friend you can't really trust. It turns you on and then it leaves you to make it on your own — with whatever guts you can muster.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami
What I mean by "leap of faith" is that I’m admitting to myself that I’ve tried a lot before — leather, wrestling, sex clubs, boyfriends, groups, fast and anonymous fucks, casual hook-ups, topping, bottoming — out of curiosity that encouraged me to see what I liked, but I haven't always had the guts afterward to go after what I really did like if it meant breaking too far out of the character of myself I’d always played. Not that I’d given up on what I liked, but that I’d file things away as a sort of secret life that I kept separate from my day-to-day activity. Well, what the hell's wrong with going after what you like and being honest about it? You're sure not going to increase the odds of finding like minds without having the guts to let them find you.
One of my plans for this latest reboot of UltraSparky was to use the "Other" page as a place to dump random interesting bits, including old gems from the previous incarnations of the site. I finally got off my lazy butt this morning and restored the ever-popular Alpha Room pictures, the ones of me playing around with duplicate props and sets from Space: 1999 while I was in London last year. Observe...
And finally, an assortment of pictures from Saturday's Coney Island Mermaid Parade, by far one of my favorite events of the year. It's a real honest mix of the city — young, old, gay, straight, hipster, square. No splashy corporate sponsorship, no heckling, no cover charges. People dress up in costume even if they're not marching, everyone hangs loose and has fun, and the crowd never gets too rowdy. It kicks ass.
You MUST get yourselves to the Museum of Television and Radio to catch their five-part Bowie retrospective, David Bowie, Sound + Vision. A-freakin'-mazing. The first part, which runs until July 7, includes TV clips and short promo movies (they weren't called "videos" yet) from that start of his career until 1973. Lots of unaired bits, and a few archival doozies from the BBC — a must-see, espcially if you've only been familiar with the music itself, like I was.
Watching all these performaces that built up to the Ziggy Stardust era really made me understand for the first time what a bombshell he must have been to pop culture of the time. I’ve seen pictures of all he outfits and the overall look, but watching the costumes, the stage manner, the band, and the music all together made his theatrical approach crystal clear. For a number of reasons, I was reminded over and over again of how Hedwig drew a lot from Bowie's gender-bending reinvention of himself. (Luckily, Hedwig told its own story with that performance language, rather than trying to just rehash it or copy what had been done with it before.)
This is a five-part series going on all summer: 6 bucks a pop for two-hour installments what promises to be a fantastic look at Bowie's whole career. And the place was practically empty Sunday! Seriously, you must go.
I haven't had sex with anyone in a couple of months now. Frankly, I haven't been very eager to. After a three-year period of really getting to know my inner slut and having lots of kinds of sex with lots of kinds of guys, I realized that as much as I like a varied sexual palette, I also really like getting to know someone and having some kind of interaction with him beyond the saliva and the cum. Anonymous sex, for instance, can be hot as hell, but it's a fleeting charm for me that is more of a distraction that anything else.
Last winter, I met a guy who I really fell for in a major way. It didn't work out, unfortunately, but it confirmed my suspicions that I really like a little intimacy and care to go along with my fucking, sucking, sweating, swinging activities. I haven't really wanted to go out and just fuck someone on the rebound. That little dose of perspective that came with falling in love for the first time in a while has made me a little more interested in holding out for a good thing.
Not that a good thing necessarily has to be another volatile romance. I got over falling in love with every guy I liked a long, long time ago. My years of finally getting to sow my wild oats taught me to make the distinction (and even the various possible connections) between sex, friendship, crushes, love, and simple attraction. I’m eager to fuck around while I shop around: I just don't feel like compromising so often again. If I’m going to have casual sex, I want to it to be white-hot casual sex that lets me explore my reportoire and my tastes a little more, not just a random fuck for the sake of a fuck. And I don't want to date just for the sake of dating and putting myself back on the market: if I’m going to go out on a proper date, I’m going to want to feel a little potential.
In the last few years, I dated and slept around with a little more need for positive reinforcement than I would have admitted. Learning that I wasn't such a charity case was one of the best things that came out of all that. I may not be the most confident guy you've ever met, but in my more realistic moments I’m willing to admit that I’ve got a fuck of a lot to offer — personally and sexually — and guys who can appreciate me aren't necessarily so rare. There's no reason for me to lower my sights just because I’m not getting much action lately. I’m not so desperate that I have to go through the aggravation of being around someone and wishing I’d never bothered in the first place.
No need to fret, kids: the globe-trotting Mr. Pannett has arrived safe and sound in New York Fucking City, and we've brought him back to his luxurious accomodations here at The Swanktuary in Brooklyn. Ever the considerate guest, he even brought me a selection of teas and jams so we could think fondly of England, his former stomping ground. It promises to be a busy week, what with all the sightseeing, the Re-Housewarming Party, the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, the Folsom Street East fair, the inevitable bar-hopping (after all, he has to see Chelsea to understand why I avoid Chelsea), and whatever other adventures we can dredge up.
Three cheers for international diplomacy. Let the games begin!
If you give a crap about weblogs and what place they hold (or can hold) in the networked world, then you really ought to check out Tom's presentation (PowerPoint version, which is worth looking at.) Rather than hopping into any of the many debates now going on about the nature of weblogs — are they a new form of journalism? Are They viral marketing? Are they information filters? Are they pointless? — Tom discusses the aspect of weblogging that has always been the heart of it for me: weblogs as vehicles for the development of communities of writers and readers.
I always took it for granted that my online writings ("blogging," if you prefer) weren't as much about the end product as the process. Writing helps me write better and it helps me think more clearly. As much as I write for myself,though, I also write to start conversation with the people who read. The blogs I follow seem to have similar goals: I don't care as much about the subject matter itself (although that influences my overall opinion of a blog) as I do about the personality that comes through the writing. In the course of interacting with these varied personalities with varied writing interests of their own, my own awareness of ideas in the world expands. The hyperlinks in the blogs I read are much less important and interesting than the personal links that develop from my participation in the larger, more interesting culture that all the bloggers have grown into.
Glenn and I are sitting around watching The Castro, the documentary about the history of the neighborhood and its gay culture, and they've just gotten to the part about the first wave of the AIDS epidemic in the eighties. And here I am feeling my chest tighten up in a minor anxiety attack all over again, for the first time in weeks, as I watch the story unfold. The medical reality of my situation is completely different from what it would have been then, but it's hard seeing the seeds of the fear and misunderstanding and the stigma that I never thought I held on any level until I had to face what it all made me think about myself. Ouch. Ouch, I mean it. I feel like I’m being kicked in the sternum by a mule.
"I’m so tired of being good."
So laments poor Allison in John Waters' Cry-Baby, the story of a repressed good girl who yearns for the fast life in the arms of a hot, hot juvenile delinquent with a sensitive soul. Allison, I have always understood your pain.
I am, without a doubt, the biggest goody-two-shoes you know. Don't drink, don't smoke (what do I do?). Smart, polite, reliable, responsible, diligent. And so self-conscious about being seen as anything but such a goody two-shoes, completely exasperated. Being most of these things comes comes pretty easily, but I hate the pressure to live up to the reputation I’ve built for myself. I’ve always hated it so much, in fact, that when I can't live up to it, I fail in a rather spectacular fashion — always the overachiever. Yes, I have a secret life as a lazy, messy, self-indulgent fuck-up.
The little things never bugged me that much: they add character, make me more human. I’m a little slobby around the house, I’m a little bad with deadlines, I don't return phone calls right away. No trouble, right? Well, that’s just a little steam being let out of the pressure cooker. I am so much more irresponsible than I let on. I let things fall apart left and right, as long as I can keep up appearances. My credit and my finances are a disaster. I have let people take enormous advantage of me just because I didn't want to make a fuss. I have been so much sluttier than I have ever let people know, and the truth is that I didn't really enjoy it as much as I always thougth I would. The fact that there have been massive repercussions from the few times I’ve truly thrown caution to the wind do nothing more than make me feel even greater pressure to hold myself to standards that usually feel impossible.
I’m worry about letting people down, of not living up to expectations, of being faulty. And it goes without saying that I probably perceive all these expectations more than anyone around me actually has them. But still, whenever people express surprise that I haven't been the reliable goody two-shoes they've gotten used to, it just winds me up that much tighter. Even when people actually don't give a crap, I react as if they do. I’m so uptight you could pop me.
Not that I haven't popped already. You've been following along lately, right? What I’m trying to do now is find balance, to own up to my own shortcomings, to embrace my inner bad boy and realize that I can let go of the stupid stuff and then maybe stop dropping the ball so often when it really counts. I’m allowed to indulge myself, I’m allowed to slack off, I’m allowed to be weak. I’m human, duh. What a boob I’ve been. It's time to just relax a little once and for all, more often and less self-consciously. After thirty years of being the best little boy in the world, though, it'll be interesting to see how well I can integrate a little everyday delinquency.