Thursday, November 27, 2008

Nocturnal Musings and Such...

Well, another Thanksgiving gone by...I thought I would blog about a few things tonight that I am thinking of for some reason or another.

On the lighter side of things: Are you as hooked on "Dancing with the Stars" as I am??? I can tell you there is one dancer on there that tells me if I were 20 years younger, I would be doing some serious swooning. His dancing shoes would replace my Peter Frampton poster for sure.

I'm speaking of Derek Hough. Not only is he a tremendous dancer, he is a musician as well. In Showbiz, this is what is called "A Triple Threat". Dancer, Actor, Singer. For those who don't know his background, he grew up in Utah until the age of 12 and then moved to London to study with his dance teacher. He became a world champion dancer and danced and sang in "Footloose" on London's West End. Derek is very accomplished and is only (gulp) 23 years old. I'm feeling very old......

Did anyone watch "Rosie Live"?

Oh my God. I watched it while partially covering my eyes with my hands. The first part of the show featured Liza Minnelli. Now, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Liza. Ask anyone. I know everything about the woman. But it pains me to watch her try to dance and sing as she did 20 years ago. I say this with a heavy heart....RETIRE ALREADY. You have sung and danced about your last "Money Tree", "Blue Skies", "Cabaret", and "Liza with a Z".

I know every song in her catalog by heart. Now take your fedora off and peel off your eyelashes. Atta girl.

Rosie - Shame on you...the first rule in the Homo handbook is to always make the gay icons look fabulous. Even if they don't.
George McIntyre - No, he isn't famous. I guess in his own way, he was famous to those of us who used to frequent his bar, "George's Pub".

When I first met George, I was asking directions to his place while on the road. My partner and I showed up and walked in and there was a very handsome young man with blond hair smiling at us. I smiled back and thought to myself, Wow, the owner of George's knew what he was doing when he hired this guy...he was gorgeous. Definitely a draw for a gay bar.

Imagine my surprise when this good looking guy tells me he is the owner of the Pub!

I remember one year in particular, alot of his regulars had nowhere to go for Thanksgiving. He knew what that was like as he was originally from upstate New York and drove until he "got sick of it" and landed in Nashville. He lived in his car for awhile and finally got some jobs and saved money until he bought this beat up old bar. I remember he would call his sister in Vermont and wish her happy holidays but that was the only family he really had. His being gay just didn't go over in a small town.

Anyway, George asked if we would like to have Thanksgiving at the Pub and bring a covered dish? Sure! Before we knew it, everyone heard about it, and those who weren't welcomed by their families went to George's. There was a tremendous amount of food and everyone was in a great mood. He and I share a favorite song from "The Color Purple" and he and I would quote lines from that movie like it was an addition to the Bible.

He put on the CD and began singing along to "God is Trying to Tell You Something," and if you saw the film...the same message applied on the big screen as in a little Pub in Nashville, TN. Where being yourself wasn't always so wonderful. But, that Thanksgiving, it was.

He died from cancer in 2006.

Happy Thanksgiving, George.

"...You ugly, Miss Celie, you sho' is ugly.../Dear God, I may be ugly, but I'm still here..." The Color Purple

More Musings Later-

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Moments in this Life that shaped ME

Dancing as Donny & Marie with my sister in our kitchen when we were kids.

When I was a kid, I was told that I was "beyond my years" as a musician. Everyone seem to know my name.

When I went with my father to run some errands, he bumped into a coworker who smiled at me and asked, "And who is this little lady?" My father told him my name, but didn't know anything else he was asked about me. I felt embarrassed and didn't know why.

Growing up with my cousins, we were as close as brothers and sisters. Holidays were so much fun.

When my mother told me when I was 13 years old, she and my father were getting a divorce, I told her, "I guess it's time you did something for yourself."

Going on errands to the mall with my father and somehow bumping into my aunt each time. The moment "I figured it out".

March 3,4,5, 1980 - Auditioned at Juilliard in New York City. First plane ride, first time to New York. I auditioned, took a piano barrier and a theory test. Was I prepared? Hell no.

The night of March 3rd, I was in a diner across the street from Lincoln Center/Juilliard. I had auditioned that day amid thousands of others. The naive Texas kid. I suddenly hear a knock on the window and see the man I auditioned for...He gives me a thumbs up and waves as he moves back into the crowd. I couldn't say anything. How could he possibly remember me? I didn't quit smiling for a week after that.

The life I led after the divorce.

Watching my sister cajun dance with my grandfather.

As a kid, I looked into my aunt's eyes and knew she wasn't "quite right."

Denying who I was for so many years.

The day I faced it and accepted it. It nearly broke me.

The day Hank died.

The day Fred died.

The first time I admitted to myself that I was in love with my partner.

Dealing with all the "crap" that seems to come with the tag, "gay".

Climbing out of my bedroom window to get away from my step-father.

Confronting my father about the divorce.

Moving to Nashville, TN
Office politics and how I let it take too much from me. Never again.

The day I was diagnosed with Parkinson's and feeling so fragile about it.

The day my partner and I went to New York City and celebrated ourselves.

The day I swam in the West Indies ocean (Turks & Caicos).

It took all of the above and more to become...ME

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

TV Commercials & Shows and the Eye Roll Scale

Ok, perhaps "hate" is a bit too about really, really dislike? I'd have to say that the first commercial that comes to mind is no...wait, let me give you clues. She's a well-known actress and she only has to take a pill once a month.

Sally Field and Boniva
If I see or hear Sally Field yammer on about "only" having to take one pill once a month for her osteoarthritus, I will scream. Don't get me wrong, that's a painful and terrible disease. BUT, the fact that she is saying it is a hardship to swallow one freaking pill a day kills me. I suppose because I swallow a fist full of pills a couple of times a day.

I also can't stand it when she pretends to "exercise" which is comprised of stretching, lame lifting of weights and then sitting on the floor laughing while flipping her hair.

I like to rate the aggravation level on a scale of 1 - 5 "eye rolls".
Rating: This one is a 5 eye roller. *****
Extreme Makeover - Ty Pennington

If I see Ty Pennington anywhere NEAR a bullhorn, I will personally force it down his throat. I don't like yelling and I especially don't like it when this guy is running all over the place shouting into an amplified sound device.

Rating: I give it a 3 eye roll. ***
Extreme Maker - in general
This show does great work on a philanthropic level and I think that is fabulous. BUT, I am so tired of watching these designer do-gooders getting choked up every single week to the point of tears on every job they do. The blond do-gooder has been on every home and decor show on television. She is the worst about boo-hooing and if there is a little girl involved with remodeling her room, she always reiterates, "I'm gonna give her the most awesome room any little girl could want. She will feel like a princess." All the while, she is crying about it. She irks me the most I wait, the guy who is a carpenter and wears glasses. He's the worst cryer. I sometimes wonder what he must be like when he's at home. I mean, can he really cope in every day life?

Rating: 4 eye-rolls ****
The commercial for dental services puzzles me. It seems that it is a commercial for someone needing to go to the dentist for routine services such as fillings, caps, pulling a tooth, etc. But every person that is talking about it on this commercial has false teeth. I realize a dentist is needed to convert to false teeth, but jeez....aren't you done with the dentist after that?

Rating: 2 eye-rolls **
Bart Durham TV Commercials

For those not in the Nashville area, Bart is an attorney specializing in personal injury. You get the picture. He can come up with some pretty creative ways to get attention with a commercial.

I particularly favor "The Soap Opera" which never said it was a soap opera, it just appeared on screen as a commercial in mid-story without prior notice. So, it always seemed that it was a mistake by the programming guy at the tv station. The actors were awful and if I were looking for an attorney for my injuries, this commerical wouldn't make me feel very good about choosing Bart. That's just me.
Rating: 1 eye-roll and groan. * 0 (I call'sem likes I see'sem)
The View - Elizabeth Hasselbeck
You knew it was coming, didn't you? I like this show in general, but I have to say that Elizabeth irritates the life out of me. Particularly on the "Hot Topics" segment. Everyone knows she is a Repub...Repub...I'm sorry I can't say it. I'm too much of a Democrat. Having said that, she feels the need to screech and shout above everyone else on the show.

There is more to her than her "conservative" rhetoric. She presents herself in a smug, judgemental and viscious way that is not becoming to her. When her and Rosie were shouting at each other that fateful day, (no, I don't condone Rosie's behavior either) she seemed to revel in the furor and upheaval.

I'll be honest, I don't like her. She brings nothing to the show. Get rid of her. Oh, and while you're at it, get rid of Barbara Walters too. (Why would a much respected journalist stoop to such a level and publish her account of an affair with a married man? and other sexual conquests?). I'm with Rosie, she needs to retire.
Rating: 5 eye-rolls, 2 groans and click of the channel. ***** 00 !

(I can make up these ratings if I want...)
More Musings Later-

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Watching Until My Eyes Were Filled with Tears

I've written about growing up in the South many times before this post. But as faithful readers will know, some things about growing up in the South were painful.

I grew up in southeast Texas where the weather was so hot, that it took considerable effort to move about. The humidity was so heavy that it was like breathing water. The only thanks for enduring the weather and conditions was the fact that living in such a tropical climate insured everyone a youthful appearance. Although I wasn't concerned with issues such as these.

My days were spent playing outside, throwing a ball around with a friend, or riding a bike up and down my street. That was my youth, carefree and void of the harsher things in life.

The first time I remember becoming an adult, I was by myself and bouncing a ball on the driveway. The sun was almost ready to set and cicadas were just starting their screeching for the evening. I stopped bouncing the ball and listened to them. In the distance, I could hear what appeared to be an old, rattled truck coming down the road. I didn't know if the City was spraying for mosquitoes are not. The act that I believe brought on my Parkinson's disease. As the noise got closer, I decided it couldn't be a government truck. It had to be a flatbed truck.

Finally, the truck slowly came down my street and on back of this truck were huge pieces of lumber and several men standing up, holding on to the cab for stability. 2 of the men saw me and began shouting propaganda that was overwhelmingly filled with hate. It burned my ears as they continued shouting. I noticed all my neighbors quickly went inside their homes. They were such a sight. Their white robes billowing in the wind and their masks carefully hiding their faces. Either from shame or blame. I knew they would be building crosses and burning them in a black family's yard. Later that evening, I watched the news and saw the crosses burning against the sienna sky. The glowing images danced across my face as I sat in the dark.

I continued watching until my eyes were filled with tears.

Quite a few years later, I visited Memphis, TN. I stood on Beale Street around twilight and noticed that tv stations were gathered and crowds of people were in the streets. I checked the date for a holiday. It was April 4th. The day Martin Luther King was assassinated.

I watched the crowd of mostly black people fill the streets with heavy hearts. The images I saw on tv years ago were again in front of me. The young man was now an old man carrying the same sign hung from his shoulders. "I Am A Man." I watched him walk Beale Street with eyes so sad that when he saw me staring he looked at me and tried to muster a respectful nod. I nodded back wondering how he had the determination to keep walking. Surely he must be tired, I thought. I watched him continue to shuffle down Beale against the sienna sky.

I watched until my eyes were filled with tears.


Last night, I silently mused about how warm it was for November in Tennessee. The heat isn't as bad here as it was in Texas, so I was thankful for that. The humidity just wasn't as intense as I remembered it in Groves, Texas. I sat in my easy chair and watched the news. It was another election year where I told others that I "held my nose" and voted Democrat as I always do. I just didn't know much about this man and I really wanted a woman to win the presidency. She had more of a chance than him. She was white, experienced and well....white. Sad to say, that is what it comes down to these days. I continued watching tv that night in the dark waiting for election results. I expected it to be the next day before we knew the winner. I was wrong.

The newsman began to tear up a bit and announced, "Ladies and Gentleman, we have just elected the first African American as president of the United States." I never thought he had a real chance. I voted for him, but I never thought it would actually happen. The camera moved away from the newsman and began to show people gathering at a park in Chicago, Illinois waiting for this man to speak.

The sky was clear and the wind was cool. The evening sky was bathed in silky soothing colors. Far removed from sienna which reminded me of dirt which sometimes soils our hands from the journey we have taken. But not tonight. The images of the news danced across my face in the darkness of my living room and the people I saw were wondrous to me. They showed New York, Ohio, Chicago, Indonesia, Kenya and other countries across the world. People of all colors, creed, and religions hugged one another. Because they had hope.

I thought back to when I saw those men of the KKK in my hometown.

I kept watching until my eyes were filled with tears.


If I know one thing; it is this: YES WE CAN.

More Musings Later-