Archive for the 'Sad' Category

14
Jun
13

Goodbye, Minnesota’s Rose

Catherine and Wain

Catherine Jensen and Wain McFarlane, Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge, Minneapolis, May 2010

It seems impossible, ridiculous really, that we are bidding goodbye to our dear friend Catherine today. Just five days ago we had no idea she was even ill.

We got the news late on Sunday night, that she’d taken a turn for the worse, that she’d been on life support, that she was going to die.

The word “shocking” isn’t nearly accurate. What word is? There is no word for this feeling. There is no poetry for this. One moment, not a thought about her. The next, she is nearly gone. Continue reading ‘Goodbye, Minnesota’s Rose’

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27
Dec
12

Fa ra ra ra ra …

Joy Tsin Lau, 1026 Race St. Try David's Mai Lai Wah or Tai Lake instead.

Thumbs down to Joy Tsin Lau, 1026 Race St. Try David’s Mai Lai Wah (1001 Race St.) or Tai Lake (134 N. 10th St.) instead.

We should have known that, on a night like this, when all our first choices in Chinatown had a long wait to get in, the restaurant without a line would probably not be all we hoped for.

It was Christmas. Jeff and I were excited about having a night out with friends in Chinatown on Christmas with chopsticks and fortune cookies and red lanterns and silly tropical cocktails.

My mom laughed when I told her. She recited that little bit of good-humored racism from A Christmas Story. “How does it go?” she said. “Deck the hars with bars of horry…”

But the place we chose turned out to be nothing to laugh at. Continue reading ‘Fa ra ra ra ra …’

20
Mar
12

the saddest thing in the world

At first it’s alarming and briefly terrifying. And then it’s just heartbreaking.

I’m getting ready for work, rummaging in the closet, talking softly to myself — wallet, keys, phone — thinking of the first things I have to do when I get to the office. I am totally lost in my own head, totally alone.

I back up with my jacket in my hand. I am about to close the door, and manoeuvre an arm up my sleeve, and—

rrrrrrrreeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaoooooorrrrgh!  Continue reading ‘the saddest thing in the world’

19
Jan
12

The last day of car acquaintance

We were just going for a test drive.

Sooner or later you reach a point where you have to sink so much money into your car to make it sellable that it’s worth just as much or more as a trade-in. And even if that’s not precisely true, it’s worth something to have someone else take it off your hands.

So Jeff and I drove to a suburban car dealer in a 1997 Jeep Wrangler, and we drove home in a 2011 Honda CR-V.

When Jeff bought that Jeep in 2002 he joked, “It makes me look 30% sexier.” And he was right. It was true for anyone. It was a hot little number. Now we’re lulled into a need for reliability and comfort, room for groceries and, one day, room for a kid. Sturdy. Sensible. Soccer mom.

The new car is lovely. But it sure is hard to say good bye to the old friend who saw us through three moves and three cities. Continue reading ‘The last day of car acquaintance’

09
Sep
10

RIP Otho Fenlock

Glenn Shadix died at home in Alabama Tuesday. We all remember him as paranormal researcher-turned-interior decorator Otho from Beetlejuice. He had almost all the really great lines in that movie and was one of my first memorable gay role models.

I must admit I’m disappointed the AP story didn’t mention his turn as the preacher in Heathers. Personally, I blame not the AP, but rather a society that tells its youth that the answers can be found in the MTV video games.

29
Aug
09

In Memoriam: Joey Ruggiero

It’s one of life’s great cliches that everyone comes into your life for a reason. It does not always follow, however, that they go out of your life for a reason, too. Sometimes they just go, and it’s cruel, and it’s brutal.

I did not know Joey well. We met in January, and he was gone by mid-April. Every time I saw him in those brief months, he brought some new delight into my life &#8212 a fun, clever friend of his; a fabulous place for brunch; a ceramic two-tiered deviled egg serving tray.

Since his death, I have been remembering all of the “lasts.” You always remember those: the last tweet, the last Facebook update, the last photo I took of him, the last time he was at my house, the last time I was in his disastrously messy car.

Everything around me is a reminder, as if a trace of life is left behind everywhere he went, like a scent. Whenever I’m on South Street, I remember the last time he got new plugs for his ear lobes. RuPaul reminds me of him. Britney Spears reminds me of him. Blood oranges, enchiladas, Hello Kitty.

Our lasts were, in most cases, also firsts. The last meal we shared was at our annual Easter party, which we thought would be the first of many he would attend. It was at that party, he told us, that he had his first-ever green bean casserole. Also his last.

The lasts hurt so much because they’re a reminder of the obliterated potential. You decide to let someone into your life as a friend, and you can imagine how things will be years on: the holidays and birthdays, the summers and winters, the drunken nights out, the drunken nights in.

We have the lasts to be grateful for, but we can’t help but feel robbed of an undiscovered future and memories we never had a chance to make. And then we remember that the future that’s gone is his. We still have ours, and that’s more to be grateful for.

Sometimes I think we don’t really lose anybody. We just find them somewhere else. I find Joey continuously in the friends we inherited from him.

Joey collected people, and he carried a whole world with him. His was an exuberant life that spilled over into everyone around him. Like all is other possessions, we are left behind to be redistributed or to be gathered closer. We have chosen the latter.

Last week would have been his birthday. We had cake and champagne in his honor. And I saw once again how lucky we were to know him, and how grateful we should be for the people he brought to our lives.

We are all so different, and we all knew him for different reasons, but we all fit together. And wherever we go, he goes.

Rest in peace, friend.

11
Feb
09

Sweet Low Down Tammie Brown

Episode 2 has convinced me that RuPaul’s Drag Race is one of the best shows on TV. It is not only fun and at times educational, but also surprisingly heartwarming, and ironically, very real. These guys are a few sequins and a couple of falsies away from being Barbie dolls, but they really are putting some realness back into reality TV.

OK, lame. I know that was a line from the show’s promotional campaign, but I’m seeing now why it’s also true.

Tammie Brown with an 'IE'    
“See you later, in the magazines. Wah wah wah wah.”
[www.myspace.com]

One of the benefits of watching the show online is all the extra revealing goodies to be found there. Among my favorites are the “Under the Hood,” segments shot in the green room, just the girls talking among themselves, revealing insecurities, critiquing themselves and each other — and also building each other up. (Maybe the best part of these clips is the intro and outro with the RuPaul Barbie doll, voiced by none other than Miss Ru herself!)

These guys reveal over and over what integrity they have as performers. Each one in his own way wants truly to elevate the art of drag and raise his own level of performance. (Well, all but one, so far. Akashia seems simply to want to show off and wow the judges, but doesn’t seem to think she has anything to learn.) These are not second-rate gender fuckers. These ladies are practitioners of an art form — and drag, when it’s done well, is really a nexis of several disciplines.

One of the best parts of Episode 2 was the way it allowed each of the guys to play to a strength, and it gave everyone an opportunity to learn something from one of his competitors — and, honey, every one of these guys has something to learn. It also demonstrated that the contestants who respect their peers are the ones who will succeed.

The eliminations are also very revealing. Rebecca Glasscock is one smart competitor, but by no means is she a cut-throat. Asked who she would eliminate if forced to choose, she pointed to the one she saw as her strongest competition, Shannel. In a back-handed way, it is the ultimate compliment. But she also clearly had a hard time throwing her teammate under the bus. And Shannel can certainly understand her sentiments.

Shannel, for her part, stepped beyond graciousness and called out Ongina as a brilliant team leader. These are the little gems, the little rewards, scattered throughout this show, like the size 20 rhinestones in Shannel’s make-up kit. It seriously makes me cry a little.

Shannel is smart and interesting and undeniably talented. Clearly she has put a lot of thought into her work and the philosophy of drag. But lord in heaven, she is like an earnest, wordy, overzealous honors college student at Drag U. Sometimes I just want her to shut up and apply some eye shadow or something.

Ongina, the talented captain, said she would have gone down with the ship. Nina admitted to being the weakest link and would have graciously stepped down if not for her immunity. There is real honesty here, real class and humility.

And then there is the other, uglier side of things.

I agree with 77% of the TV audience and said Akashia should have gone. This is strictly on the basis of her being such an awful team leader. Fierceness is more than an act; you have to back it up with talent, or you’re going to be found out. She was in charge of makeup in her group, but her own makeup was probably the worst on that stage. And even as the resident bitch, she is just a bore. In this week’s “Under the Hood,” Tammie is talking about positive energy, and raising up her hands with her fellow queens and swaying in unison. It;s a little Kum-Ba-Yah, a little hokey, but Akashia is sitting there insolently giving everyone the finger, and it is so not classy.

That said, I’m glad Akashia was able to redeem herself at the end, leaning pretty hard, in my opinion, on that time-honored fall-back, the lip synch.

No denying it: She brought it. Michelle Williams cried, feeling touched and rewarded by Akashia’s grasp of the lyrics. And in the end we see that, for all her theatrics and all her cuntiness, Akashia still cares about the judges’ opinions. She radiated after her life-saving lip synch and showed that she is not made of stone. We all want to succeed. And maybe now that she has come so close again to getting cut, she will wise up and play this game a little smarter and with a little more grace.

Meanwhile, for Tammie, there was nothing sadder than her half of the lip-synch showdown. “Break the Dawn” never sounded so melancholy. The girls stood downstage holding their breath. Jade held her hands to her face, seemingly on the verge of tears. Tammie did her best to move to the music, but she did not attempt a single word of that lip synch. At one point, she raised a hand up and waved, parade style, and it was clear that she was really waving good-bye to those judges. She knew it was over. Rather than exiting quietly, she was all but forced to lay down on the tracks.

I had such hopes for quirky ol’ 1940s pin-up girl fit model-cum-cracked-out glamourpuss housewife Tammie Brown. She was the clear underdog. She was from another planet. She was misunderstood and underestimated. And, again, with her departure, I think the show is missing some diversity. She stands out as a unique persona. What she does well, no one else on the show can do better. But she wanted out, and she made her exit with as much hammy dignity as she could muster.

With the specialty girls getting picked off first, I am finding that the ones who remain tend to be the most well-rounded. To win this thing, you need to bring the skills. Already we have seen that you must be able to sew, to play well with others, and to learn a song and choreography tout de suite — or at least fake it pretty damn well. Circumstances and fate led Akashia and Nina to survive this time. Poor Tammie’s weakness was exposed, and she was sent packing.




the untallied hours

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