Tuesday, February 28, 2006
I know I do.
I wanted to be on the show since the first season when CT sent me an email announcing that they were holding auditions in San Francisco (she being insightful enough to recognize it was right up my alley!). I promptly downloaded the application and was halfway through completing the application when I discovered that it was only open to people with U.S. passports… boo! I have a European passport that allows me entrance to numerous countries and has just as much – dare I say, more? – pull. But, I understand the producers’ point of view, and imagine it’s a legal affair.
The one question I’ve entertained throughout the seasons is who would be my perfect running mate. Recently, it came down to deciding between Mr. A and Frankie. I discovered a couple of weeks ago that Frankie has had the same fascination… and the same question.
We were in Mr. A and Frankie’s kitchen when the subject came up. We deliberated over each other’s talents and foibles. Mr. A is undoubtedly charming and intelligent and able to cut to the chase, but we questioned his affection for what we call, “shiny objects,” be they actual shiny objects in store windows or passing pretty people. To answer the question Frankie posed the question: “given the choice to hike down a ravine or bungee jump over a bridge, what would you do?”
Mr. A was all over the hike, while Frankie and I had no doubts about bungee jumping, and I said that knowing my innate fear of heights. That pretty much settled the debate.
Not that there have not been instances in past seasons when the ability to shop has been an advantage. Do you remember when the teams were in South Africa and had to purchase a list of items in a local market, which were then delivered to a local orphanage? Mr. A would have been the man for the job, but, seriously, when time is an issue…. ?
Being both born under the sign of Leo, Frankie and I have been known to butt heads on occasion, but we’re also proven collaborators… as is Frankie and Mr. A, and me and Mr. A… TMI for this post. However, I have been in several ‘crises’ with Frankie, who has come through as the ‘man who saved the day’, the epitome of grace under pressure.
Our pluses: Frankie is fluent in Spanish, the third most spoken language on Earth. He’s a seasoned traveler and familiar with airports, quick-change travel plans and, let’s not discount, red carpet concierge services. He’s a designer by trade with a quick eye and equally fast mind.
I sell myself professionally as a creative problem solver who is resourceful and intuitive. It doesn’t hurt that I speak a smattering of several languages, have traveled the globe and can turn my charm on for a dime. I was also trained, at the outset of my career, in the offices of BP Pet Dev, Aberdeen, Scotland, by former SAS agents to CYA. I know how to read instructions, read them again, and make sure I understand the drill. It’s what makes me the ‘gal with the eagle eye’, an absolute necessity in following the directions in the Amazing Race.
In tonight’s race, Frankie and I would have been way ahead of the curve. We would have immediately chosen “rotor over motor.” With Frankie’s discerning eye for graphics, he would have immediately identified the heliport to land on; I would have been all over the logistics. I am, perhaps more than anything, an efficiency expert.
So, I guess I had better get onto that U.S. Citizen application that I was planning to submit a couple of years back… after all it’s only a mere four-hundred bucks and a slam-dunk test that separates me from being able to vote in the next presidential election… but, moreover, being the winner of the next Amazing Race!
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Last Saturday night the San Francisco Imperial Council crowned a new emperor and empress at its 41st coronation ceremony at the San Francisco Gift Center. It was a gay affair, with the theme “Hot Egyptian Nights,” featuring a 30-foot tall Egyptian temple center stage where the reigning royalty held court.
For those not in the know (myself included until Saturday), the Imperial Court was founded in 1965 by Jose Sarria, the Absolute Empress I and Widow Norton, who began his drag performance career in the 1930s and became the first gay man to have a street named after him. But since, I assume, you're not here for a history lesson click here if you want to learn more... which I recommend.
The evening began with me trying, at the last minute, to create an Egyptian themed outfit out of nothing... "Just wear lots of gold," Frankie advised. Yes, well, that would be easy if I had 'lots of gold'. I settled on jeans in high heels and fabulous accessories, which, turned out, was more than adequate since my hairdo stole the show. Yes, even among all those fabulous wigs!
The reason for our attendance was to see our fabulous friend Empress XXXI Cockatielia’s performance to celebrate her 10 year anniversary as Empress... if you can't already tell, it was a 'fabulous' evening all round.
From the minute we walked in the door, there was so much bling we practically needed sunglasses. And, as Mr. A pointed it, "that's not dime-store crap those bitches are wearing. Those crowns and tiaras cost thousands of dollars."
Then there were the gowns... Academy Award's red carpet, who needs it? Donna Sachet was in her perennial red looking simply, well, fabulous... and if I'd been prepared with a notebook, I would be able to recount all the other sumptuous gowns and their wearers... not to mention the costumes custom-made to fit the night's theme. It was all I could do to keep my jaw from hanging agape.
Empress Cockatielia entered stage left -- or is it right? -- flanked by her courtiers of drum beating boys while a stream of exotic girls entered from the other direction to arrive on stage in a whirl of layered silk. Cockatielia sang a song specially written for her for the night. She sang it with powerful emotion and the crowd lapped up every minute, bursting into cheers when she danced, Madonna-style, in rhythm with her entourage. Her standing ovation was the crowning moment of a spectacular evening... which brings me to the title of this piece. (For a close-up of Cokatielia click here and choose "Hula"; she's image 4238.)
The final performance of the evening featured mummies, aka people wrapped in bandages, and sporting a rainbow of tutus... which was when Mr. A uttered, "Mummies in tutus... oh my!"
We then made our way to the Deco Lounge on Larkin in the Tenderloin for the after party. Mr. Houston at the piano announced to the audience as I entered, "we have a movie star in our presence!" Looking around, I then realized it was me he was talking about... not that I look like Jennifer Anniston even on a good day, but it sure was flattering for about a heart beat... like I said, it was the hair.
Cockatielia was now dressed as a statuesque blonde in a simply, fabulous gown... I swear, I'm coming back as a drag queen in my next life... or maybe I was one in my previous, which is why I just adore these men who, despite their lack of natural attributes (my boobs are always applauded, by the way), know what true glamor is and know how to work it.
It may have been my first coronation, but I doubt it will be my last.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
To see Mr. D in action... go to turnhere.com and, before you get completely distracted by all their incredible content, do a search and find the Palace Hotel... There you will see the best-selling author and historian himself waxing lyrical about this fabulous San Francisco venue.
Meanwhile, my social life has gone out the window, but I am meeting the bodacious Ms. B for cocktails and a movie screening... so, not all work and no play... wouldn't want to become dull, now would I?
Back to the grindstone...
Friday, February 17, 2006
So, not one to let down a child, let alone a smart, hip, adorable one at that, I roused myself, fixed the old face and hair-do and went to her darling, private school...
I’d been forewarned that I would be interviewed in front of the class. Now, I have to admit that I had a wee bit trepidation about this, my imaginings running to James Lipton-type questions in front of a roomful of eight-year olds… Why, James, my favorite profanity is f**k and I like to use it liberally. My all-time favorite word is Zambezi… don’t ask me what it means; I just like how it sounds, along with bamboozle and, now that you mention it, martini. What would I do for a living if I wasn’t… ? Well, actually, what living? I would love to earn a living!
Worse, I was preparing answers to philosophical questions like my advice on life…
Thankfully, the interview was conducted quietly in a corner while others around us were doing their own interviews and none of the questions were of a philosophical nature… unless of course when asked, “what is your favorite color?” you have a philosophy, which I do… right up there with Johnny Cash, I guess.
When asked if I knew a good joke, I had to repeat the one I’d heard just yesterday… it went over like a bad facelift. Oh, no, that was the joke… you know, the one where the woman gets run over by a car and dies. She then complains to God, “you told me I had another forty years!” to which God replies, “Girl, I didn’t even recognize you!”
The kicker had to be, “what jobs have you had?” Well… fish pickler, Internet Director, movie producer, writer, interior designer, teacher, were just a few I picked out of my hat… and, yes, I’ve done all of these.
We had our photograph taken, so now I have a nice Polaroid memento of the occasion, which I duly scanned and turned into a thank you card for her.
We, grandparents and special friends (for children who don’t have grandparents, either alive (I suppose) or in the neighborhood) were then shuttled to the gymnasium and given a treat of a performance by the musicians of the school. It was utterly charming and I sat next to a lovely grandmother (I think the only African-American represented) and had a nice chat about her exercise program and the benefits of yoga. Heck, she used to be able to balance her body horizontally off the floor with the support of her arms, which is way more than I can do! I told her that muscle has memory and if she could do it before, with some practice she’ll be able to do it again. “I’m inspired,” she said.
Well, I was inspired by the talent and energy of the young folks. It was a beautiful start to the day… and it sure feels wonderful to be somebody wonderful’s special friend.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
We were greeted by our favorite maitre d’, Jen Louise, always accommodating and generous, who found us two seats at the bar and introduced us to our bartender, Bill. What followed was nothing less than gastronomical heaven… Japanese yellowtail with fried shallots and Thai basil – to die for! Crispy Imperial Rolls, which you wrap inside a lettuce leaf with a sprinkling of rice noodles a hint of mint and dipping sauce – messy but worth it! Papaya salad – superbly simple and refreshing. Barbecued Willis Ranch pork spare ribs with honey-hoisen sauce… more messy fingers, but the staff has thought of that and provides steaming cloths in the nick of time, which unfortunately precludes sucking your fingers clean!
All washed down with my favorite cocktail, Ginger Kaffir Limeade – a delicious concoction of Kaffir Lime Vodka, ginger, and lime juice, on the rocks. Now, not to say that Bill was lacking in any way, but nothing beats the deft hand of the creator of this cocktail, who is none other than the hot and humble Thad Vogler, currently on hiatus in Guatemala doing voluntary work. As Mr. A said, “I wish I could be that magnanimous!” I say, “Hurry home, Thad… We miss you!”
If all that deliciousness wasn’t enough, Jen Louise enticed us into ordering dessert… OMG… the E. Guittard dark chocolate pot de crème with espresso granite is orgasmic... truly! Along with which we delicately sipped a glass of Chateau de Rayne Vigneau, Sauternes, 1997… What a perfect Valentines Day... or any day for that matter.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Speaking of get-go, and since I was reading The Tipping Point for the past three hours, I did a little further research and found out that you can buy the Truffle & Salt online. Here at lescadeauxgourmets.com... $22 for 3.5 oz... worth every centime. I'm half tempted to carry a little container of it around with me... just think you could make eating at McDonalds luxurious...
BTW if you're reading this and land up in the Slow Club and see a tall fabulous tattoed fag with bleached cropped hair in a fancy suit and tie, I'm the busty blonde wearing the fierce shoes smiling up at him... come and say hi!
Meanwhile, it seemed reasonable to make tea and a sandwich for lunch and, since I’m on this egg kick, I hard-boiled two and mixed them with mayo and this sublime mixture of truffle and salt, a gift from Ro while I was in New York. OMG, you’ll never eat anything boring again… I tracked it down, but, sadly, it doesn’t look like you can easily buy it online… maybe if we all band together we can order a case of it to make it worth their while. Check it out at Casina Rossa. Then again, if we asked nicely, Ro, being the gracious being she is, could send us a care package…
About the egg thing… if you didn’t know, eating eggs helps you lose weight and also helps tighten your skin… that’s according to the Fat Flush Plan and Dr. Perricone, respectively.
From the Fat Flush Plan: “Eggs are the highest dietary source of several sulfur-based amino acids, including taurine, cysteine, and methionine. These are needed by the liver to regulate bile production. This nutrient-rich food is also a superb source of phosphatidylcholine (put that in your spell checker!), a nutrient needed for overall liver health and to make lecithin, which helps prevent cholesterol oxidation harmful to the liver and other organs.”
Make sure you buy Omega-3 enriched eggs… brimming with antioxidants.
My own observation? It works and is a heckofalot cheaper than Perricone products… of course, there are other things required to maintain fabulous skin… like a daily dose of Alpha Lipoic Acid, Esther C, and Milk Thistle, to name just a couple… don’t want to overwhelm you… and a great topical regime, such as the products from La Belle, a whole line of which CT gave me for Christmas. I’m in love with their Oxygen Mist and Tissue Repair Balm… the sensation of these combined is almost indescribable… tingly, and fresh, and as clean as mountain air… Which reminds me, I think I hear my bathtub calling!
This was the first of several emails I received from my girlfriends reminding me that it's V Day... this one courtesy of the lovely S, who lives across the park in San Francisco.... otherwise I might have gone on quite happily not remembering that I don't have a date... well, not yet, at least!
From Ro in New York:
Do remember to say to yourself, "I love you."
Go to work an hour late, steal a chocolate, have an extra glass of wine (ideally over lunch) and tell yourself what a lovely person you are.
Because, the most important relationship ˆthat of you with yourselfˆ often goes unacknowledged."
... to which I would add... get your ass to yoga where you will always be reminded how unique and precious you are!
From R in Los Angeles:
"Happy Valentine's Day to you! Fabulous women can wish this to each other! (My students refer to VD as "Singles Awareness Day" - I like that.)"
... I like it too.
But, from me to all you fabulous women... single, sassy, or not... remember that every day is Valentine's Day... xoxoxoxo
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Ten years ago, we clocked in five miles most days of the week with little effort. What a difference a decade makes… ouch! Still, I’m happy that she pushed me and will most definitely be when, with continued effort, I see the results in my thighs and bottom months from now… Madonna who?
Off to Marin for dinner with the fabulous Miss B and her husband S and daughter little V... joined by Miss B's cousin Dave.... the hunkiest man on the planet and straight... and single;-)
So, I didn’t go to my party tonight… rock on N and L… sorry I missed one of your fabulous bashes, but every now and then a gal just needs to take care of business and forego being the belle of the ball.
I retreated to my local noodle house, the Citrus Club… see the links of restaurants I haunt… to do a little thinking and script rewriting.
I’ve been a regular at the Citrus Club on a somewhat irregular basis, i.e. in my flush dot-com days, three times a week, more recently so, once a week, which has diminished to, well, it’s been a couple of months... What has irked me about the place – gee, five years or more -- is that no-one has ever said a simple “welcome back.” So, what’s the point in having a local? Maybe it’s a Leonine fault… Frankie was commenting last night that he never feels ‘remembered’… I feel the same way too… or maybe we’re always surrounded by courtiers who outshine us… or, to put it in a positive frame, reflect the light we shine…
Well, the Citrus Club has redeemed itself via the sweet and self-proclaimed shy Christina…
“Hi, haven’t seen you in awhile. You’re a writer, right?”
To which I answered… “Yeah, I’ve been laying low… you know? Writing isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be….” And a couple of dozen other platitudes, ending in… “I’m kind of broke. Tonight is a treat to myself. Glad to see a welcoming face.”
I told her how I’ve been a ‘regular’ all these years and, with the exception of one of the chefs who was absent tonight, nobody has ever said as much as “hello,” which totally defeats the notion of having a ‘local’ to go to…
She then told me her story of how she was accepted as the new flatmate in a household of “goddesses.”
I don’t believe I said “darlin’” to her, but, then again, I might have… “that means you’re a goddess in your own right.”
For the first time in my years of habituating the Citrus Club, I was treated to a Nigori sake… courtesy of the goddess Christina.
So, this is my tribute to her… Make sure you tip her welcoming smile!
Saturday, February 11, 2006
For the first couple of hours, we were a six-some with Robert (whom I’d met at Carlos’ Dia Del Muertos party), a tall, handsome gay guy who you’d think was straight given how much he admired my boobs and gave me awesome neck and shoulder massages all night… and now a new friend Katherine, an Auzzie who has everything going for her… tall, slim, gorgeous and a successful psychologist to boot… Perfect, the universe heard my call for a resource for the psychological thriller that I’m working on.
Katherine has long thick straight hair that’s great but she has such beautiful bone structure, having one’s hair hanging is not always the best look… Mr. A to the rescue! His first look for her was a knot courtesy of chopsticks low on the back of her head with loose pieces sticking out to make it look hip and fuckable… followed hours later by a sleek high off the forehead up-do with bits hanging somewhat geisha-like… made me wish I hadn’t cut all my hair off! Not to worry, Mr. A is going to sort me out with some long clip in pieces so I can rock the beach look when we go to Bali in August.
Another half-dozen people joined us in ones and twos… and the party became quite raucous into the wee hours. The thing I love about new friends is hearing their stories, but even my old friends never fail to amaze me with a story they pull out of nowhere about someone famous they met, or something risky they did… Frankie was in the story telling zone last night and so, it seems, was I. Maybe I’ll write them here someday… but right now, gotta' run... there's a party to get purdy for!
Friday, February 10, 2006
Your Weekend: The Full Moon in your sign, coupled with the alignment from Venus to the Sun, is the celestial equivalent of a cocktail of mind-altering drugs. It's like drinking half a bottle of absinthe and chasing each shot down with a double espresso whilst in the middle of a course of muscle relaxants. That may be enjoyable if you have nothing important to achieve, no situation to remain sober and responsible for - or if you need to communicate intelligently to anyone. Otherwise, watch out this weekend and get others to watch out for you. You're about to go on a high!
Oops! With two fabulous parties on the agenda, sounds like it’s going to be another one of those weekends… better warn the troops. Tonight is courtesy of Carlos, an intimate soiree in his fabulous Mission casa complete with exotic garden and overgrown banana tree… I met Carlos in film school last year and went to his farewell bash the night Mr. A, Frankie, and my friend Annie from London, and I had just returned from Mexico… It was a swell crowd… live band, dj, delicious food and an accommodating bartender. Carlos on his drive across country to New York did a U-turn… Now he’s starting a catering company and soon a restaurant… I’ll keep you posted.
Tomorrow is chez N and L, who also throw incredible parties in their gorgeous Exelsior home… it’s where Mr. A and I saw in the New Year…
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Also coming up, The MAPP: Mission Arts & Performance Project on Saturday, February 18th, 7-11 PM... a bi-monthly collaboration of over 50 visual artists, musicians, poets and performers. With more than 10 participating locations, The MAPP puts art and performance on the street level by using alternative spaces, such as private garages, studios, back yards and cafes, for a grass-roots festival of the arts. You can pick up maps at The Art House... Tell Todd I sent you!
We landed up watching HOURS of programming uploaded from Frankie’s iPod to the TV… way cool technology. Dave Attell had us in stitches… and though his humor is wicked, it may not beat Dane Cook’s… Go to his Web site and click on TV/Tour to hear his riff on people who hate each other and yet stay together… funny, funny, funny!
We alternated between these comics and ‘Drawn Together’… an animated reality show in which a group of characters live together in the same house. As Frankie would say, hi-fucking-larious. But violent, which caused me to think of the danger I’d put myself in last week…
Since all turned out well -- the arrangement of my nose and teeth, both of which I’m particularly fond of, being still intact – I kinda’ skated over the issue, which is that violence against women is no laughing matter. Go ahead, google the term. It’ll return forty-four million hits. That’s right 44 million web sites spanning the globe that touch on issues from domestic violence, honor killings, trafficking in girls, to rape… All in all, I count my blessings and have concluded that I’m vindicated from publishing my experience on this blog. If just one woman reads this and it causes her to think twice before embarking on a similar adventure…
Not to get so maudlin, I came up with a Top Ten (somewhat tongue in cheek)… Signs He’s Not the Man for You:
10. He’s incapable of keeping a job.
9. He never mentions any friends.
8. He’s not on speaking terms with one or more of his family members.
7. He obsesses over his weight worse than a teenage girl.
6. Not even a glass of wine will pass his lips.
5. He thinks masturbation is a dirty act.
4. He says, “homey don’t play that,” when you ask to hear hip hop or Latin music.
3. He doesn’t own a single item of black clothing.
2. His fridge is empty but his cabinet full of prescription pills.
1. He has no idea how to punctuate a sentence.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
First Dave quizzed Rupert Gee about all he's done over the past twelve years to help build his Hello Deli business, to which Rupert responded in his usual nonplussed manner. Next, he asked Rupert to take a walk down the street to 53rd and Broadway to take in the unveiling of a massive billboard. Wow! It was an Oprah moment… the billboard featured Rupert larger than life looking incredibly dapper, and was Dave’s way of saying thanks… shucks. Check it out here.
The top 10 list featured slogans for a new soda that raises your libido, called Turn On. Number five on the list was “Available in ‘Classic’ or ‘Brokeback’.” Full list available here. Now, I ask you, is that going to be a new term for all things gay?
Funny thing was, moments later, there was an ad for ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and I thought wouldn’t it be wonderful if the movie swept the Oscars… send a message to the White House and all the Red States? Yep, Heath Ledger for Best Actor, Jake Gyllenhaal for Best Supporting Actor, Ang Lee for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture… I can always dream.
Bootyliscious… a term coined by Beyonce Knowles… what a stunning woman, charming and humble and so talented… who wishes, had she known it was going to be in the dictionary, it had been another word of her choosing… Her definition: beautiful, bountiful and bounceable…
Which reminded me… on my first trip to the subway in New York, I’d been equipped with a metro pass. Unfamiliar with the system, I didn’t know whether I needed to buy a ticket for the value of the distance I was traveling, as in the London tube for example.
The bootyliscious woman couldn’t hear me through the plate glass speaker and opened the door to explain that all I had to do was swipe the card. It was all the same price.
On only four hours sleep, I was feeling particularly dense. I swiped the card one way. No effect. Swiped another. Same effect. Nothing.
The lady, all voluptuous five feet of her in her not-the-most-attractive uniform that she somehow managed to make sexy, hollered for everyone to hear, “Ma’am, you do know how to swipe don’t you?”
She stepped out of her safety zone, took the card from my hand, turned it around, and placed it back in my hand.
“Oops. Thank you,” just as a woman, in her forties with a full head of expensive blonde hair and elegant attire, passed by and gave me a sympathetic smile.
“I’m still on California time and not used to being in public this early.”
“I know what you mean,” and went on to tell me how she’d left New York to live in Georgia and her company had lured her back, which she was thrilled about because she was miserable and missed New York, and it had all happened so quickly and she was still up to her eyes in boxes and off to work on a big client account…
“You’re still reeling,” I said.
“Reeling? That’s exactly what I am,” she replied.
Those are just two of the strangers who extended kindness to me…
Now, for me, Letterman is just the prelude to Craig.
If you didn’t catch Craig’s comparison of a surfer to a drunk last night, it was hilarious and can be seen on the CBS website… permanent link to which is on the right of this column.