Friday, August 31, 2001

congratulations joe on your promotion!!! WOOHOO!!!

Thursday, August 30, 2001

what's the deal with gay men and divas? this used to mystify me even as i myself find myself drawn to artists such as madonna and bjork, who clearly fit the term. i think it is because female artists are more daring in their development of their personas. maybe this is simply that we can accept female artists who don different costumes and daring outfits and be altogether different from who they are. male artists on the other hand tend to be straightforward in dress and persona. even prince and beck, quite daring in clothes simply portray varieties of the same persona they have cultivated: prince, the smouldering and sexual being, and beck the tongue-in-cheek hipster.

nobody of course can match madonna, there's nobody quite like her. annie lennox and more recently, shania twain are doing similar stuff. other female artists don't get it, it's not about costumes and music videos. a lot of people say madonna is calculating, that she's trying to cash in on the next trend, but clearly they don't understand that whatever she has been, she has been true to herself. she is not trying to be something she's not. she just uses her experiences as a springboard for ideas.

i suppose it's this trait of "divas" that i find fascinating, that these women are constantly changing and portraying themselves in a different way. and i suppose for drag queens, these women are a treasure trove of ideas that they can try on for size. i guess, in a way, it's very ironic that i find the idea of "re-inventing" myself very appealing. because for the longest time, i couldn't just be myself, i had "re-invented" myself as someone else in a straight world.
last tuesday (oct 28), patrick, peter, anne and i went to see madonna's Drowned World concert. it was awesome and lots of fun. there were a lot of people who dressed up in themes (if not outright drag) of the various madonna personae. i myself, decided to wear a cowboy shirt and some ratty old levis to the concert. i have never been to a madonna concert, this was my first time.

i would say that of all the concerts i have attended, madonna has been different from the rest. i would liken the concert to a broadway musical with 4 different "acts". not content to do mere costume changes as janet or cher might do, she has reworked some of her songs to fit the "acts" and stages the performances in a narrative where the songs are almost dialogues. the themes of these "acts" were: punk, geisha, cowboy and ghetto.

another departure is that she plays guitar in many of her songs, which created a different feel for this concert from her other concerts. they felt more intimate because you can see how gamely she plays, even though you can clearly sense that she's an amateur. the intimacy comes from seeing how vulnerable she looks playing the guitar.

my favorite song from the show is "Gone" from the album "Music." before the concert, i had felt that this song was like "Human Nature" redux where she is defiant in the face of her critics. during her performance, i realized this song is much more introspective than that; that she is speaking her pain and fear of rejection even as she is being defiant. it touched me.

"Selling out
Is not my thing
Walk away
I won't be broken again
I won't
I won't fall apart

Turn to stone
Lose my faith
I'll be gone
Before it happens"

Thursday, August 23, 2001

ever wonder what queer kids are listening to these days? last monday at PRIDE Youth, we had our "Tapes" activity (really should be called "CDs" instead) where each of the teens get to bring a piece of music and talk about why they brought it and what kind of meaning it has for them. they talk about it for a few minutes and then we all listen to the song in its entirety. kids usually pick songs that have very meaningful lyrics, usually very literal to what they are feeling, or sometimes, it's their favorite song of the moment or maybe they just want to show off how cool they are for finding the most esoteric band/artist there is. no matter, here's the song list:

Christina Aguilera, Pink, Lil' Kim, Mya - Lady Marmalade
Marietta - Destination Unknown
Ani Di Franco - Virtue
Sarah Mclachlan - Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (Live)
Erin McKeown - Fast As I Can
Moxy Fruvous - King Of Spain
The Specials - Stupid Marriage
Radiohead - Exit Music (For a Film)
Jefferson Airplane - Somebody to Love
Johnny Clegg and Savuka - Dela
Tracy Chapman - At This Point In My Life

Top Ten Words Used in Gay AOL Screen Names

America Online, if you didn't exist, the gay men will have to invent you. otherwise, where will we put all our talents for coming up with a meaningful screen name in 15 characters or less? apparently, license plates are too restricting...

Top Ten Words Used in Gay AOL Screen Names:

10. "Bottom" as in HotBottm, BottomGuy4U
- probably the most truthful about their stats--they're tellin it like it is.

9. Clothing Brand as in GapStud, NYAbercrbie, JCrew4u, PradaKid
- i have no personality so i am depending on my clothes to fool you into thinking i do.

8. "Hung" as in HungGymStud, TopHung, HorsHung
- 8 inches, 3 inches, who can tell the diff?

7. "Bareback" as in ChiBBTop, BarebackBttm,
- i'm irresponsible and you're stupid enough to let me take advantage of you.

6. "Beef" as in BeefyBoy, ChiBeefnBriefs, BeefyJock
- ex-"athlete" gone to seed (i.e., i'm 5'6", 500LBs)

5. "Boy" as in NYKid, JockStrapBoy, SFBoi, BoyBoiBoyeeeeee
- i'm 38 years old and i act like i am 13

4. "Versatile" as in VersGuy, HotVersDude
- i can be a top, but it's too much trouble.

3. "Top" as in MascTop, Top4UAll, TopOfTheWorld, TopHungJock
- i'm a BOTTOM.

2. "Jock" as in JockStud, HungJock, JockinNY
- i play table tennis.

1. "Bi" as in BiJock, BiAltanta, TopBiGuy
- i'm gay, gay, GAY.

it's Hyo's birthday today!

Happy Birthday, dude.

Wednesday, August 22, 2001

Top Ten Cliches Used in Gay Personal Ads

personal ads are by definition, advertisements. most people perceive us differently from how we perceive ourselves. so there will be omissions, exaggerations, if not outright lies. so you have to expect that the actual product will not necessarily be what you thought it/he should be. but some stuff are so meaningless even though they are supposed to be meaningful. and what about the ones with the super high expectations? no date unless you're a VGL (VeryGoodLooking), Hung, Masculine and Muscular nineteen year-old Jock. and i love the subconscious self-hate, where it goes "i'm gay but..." so here's my Ode to the Personals Ad in the form of a Top Ten List.

Top Ten Cliches Used in Gay Personal Ads:

10. "I'm as comfortable in a pair of jeans as I am in a tux"

9. "I prefer straight bars over gay bars"

8. "No Fats or Fems"

7. "I'm a normal guy who happens to be gay"

6. "I don't like the Gay Scene/Gay Lifestyle"

5. Eclectic as in "My taste in music/movies/books is Eclectic"

4. "Friends First"

3. "I Play Sports"

2. "I'm Butch"

1. "I'm a Top"
yesterday, blog wiped out 5 paragraphs of my comments on "The Cider House Rules" by John Irving. i had gotten into quite an exposition on abortion which is one of the main themes on the book. maybe someday, when i get riled up again, i'll try to put it to words again. don't you hate it when something you've been working gets eaten up by your computer? anyway, i was so frustrated, i shut down my computer in disgust.

another peeve: has anyone noticed how blogger doesn't seem to put in the italic, bold and linking formatting properly? sometimes, i have to re-do it several times before blogger gets it right. sometimes, i just get so frustrated, i just type in the html code myself. i hate HTML.

Monday, August 20, 2001

"Hidden Place" by Bjork

through the warmthest cord of care
your love was sent to me
i'm not sure what to do with it
or where to put it

i'm so close to tears
and so close to
simply calling you up
and simply suggesting

we go to that hidden place

now, i have been slightly shy
but i can smell a pinch of hope
to almost have allowed once fingers
to stroke
the fingers i was given to touch with
but careful careful

there lies my passion hidden
there lies my love
i'll hide it under a blanket
lull it to sleep

i'll keep it in a hidden place

the beautifullest
still strong
dark and divine
and the littleness of his movements
hides himself

he invents a charm
that makes him invisible
hides in the hair

can i hide there too?
hide in the hair of him
seek solace
s a n c t u a r y

Saturday, August 18, 2001

Friday, August 17, 2001

DAMN IT! i didn't get the bjork tickets through the F**KING online pre-sale. I HATE TICKETMASTER.

The World of Gay Dating: Music I Hate

Music I Hate: Rap and HipHop, Country and Heavy Metal.

in quite a few of the chicago-area PlanetOut profiles of certain gay men in their thirties, i find that rap and hiphop are frequently singled out as the Music They Hate. interestingly enough, country and heavy metal are often cited alongside this genre. sometimes i wonder what is left, the safe confines of pop and the reassuring sounds of corporate rock? pop and rock have become so homogenic that it's hard to tell one artist from another. blink 182 might as well be sum 41. staind, incubus and creed sound so similar, sometimes i confuse them.

3 of the top ten best selling albums in Billboard magazine are hiphop. hiphop today is a genre of music that is like rock and roll in the sixties. it is the music of youth culture. while rock is still predominantly white, hiphop is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. a lot of people who say that they don't like hiphop and rap are starting to sound like my grandfather who said that rock and roll was "noise." the same arguments are used in both genres, that it's "not really music" or that it's "just noise" or that "you can't understand it." a lot of gay folk also say that it's homophobic. i agree that quite a few rap artists are homophic, but i would also argue that at lot of rock and roll artists are homophobic as well, that's no reason to hate a genre.

hiphop influences all kinds of music. pop acts like nsync, britney spears, limp bizkit, cake, U2, and others references or borrow heavily from hiphop--it's inescapable. traditional hiphop artists like mary j blige, faith evans or even TLC have crossed over to the mainstream that it's hard to categorize any artist as a pure hiphop artist.

i like rap. i find it funny, poetic, sexy, infectious and exciting. i think that the best rap songs combine an infectious beat with a distinctive rapping style and poetic imagery. i think that the fugees particularly lauryn hill and wyclef jean has shown that rap can be as uplifting as a gospel song or as lyrical as a folk song. i think sampling which came from rap has created a whole new set of musicians and gave rise to the DJ culture. i think sampling has added an extra dimension to music that can be used ironically, reverentially, or subversively. it has enriched our musical landscape.

i personally think that older people have a problem with hiphop because they don't understand it. its african american roots may have something to do with this. suburban middle class folk have no experience of the hiphop culture, they didn't grow up with it. it existed outside their bubble. they probably grew up in white suburban towns with little ethnic diversity. they probably don't have very many ethnic minority friends. their dislike of rap or hiphop could possibly be rooted in subconscious racism. the youth of today is quite different. 70% of people who buy hiphop music are white suburbanites. it would not be unusual for a white kid to idolize jay-z or master p. younger gay men have started adding of female rappers like lil kim and lauryn hill to their roster of "divas".

country music and rap music share a lot of similarities: they can both be boastful, expositionary, angry, sexual, introspective, political, emotional. they both are deeply rooted in their subcultures almost to the point of saying that the subculture springs from the music, that the music is its lifeforce. the rhythms may be different, but the soul of the music is not unlike each other.

and who hasn't had the pleasure of thrashing about and throwing imaginary long hair around to a good heavy metal song?

i guess that for me, music continues to be a adventure, a peek into cultures that i have not experienced. to limit myself to the music of my milieu is to be stagnant and boring. music is like books, it offers a glimpse into the world of the artist, regardless of the genre. as one immortal artist has sung: music makes the people come together.

The Death of the Circuit Boy

the nineties will be remembered where the place to be was at The Circuit Party. annually, these parties are being attended by gay men in tight lycra-enforced clothes with disposable incomes and no responsibilities. in the early days of gay empowerment, gay bars and events have been the locus of the queer folk. there was a need for this: the closet engulfed us, we needed to find places where we can escape its confines and express our sexuality. these places created the gay clone and it's younger brother, the circuit boy and with it, the gay subculture.

it might be prudent to point out that today, the "gay subculture" is so ubiquitous that it's part of the mainstream. gay men who are not comfortable with their sexuality and masculinity often say that they don't live "the gay lifestyle", equating hanging out at a gay bar as being a lifestyle. it is true that gay subculture is most concentrated in gay bars, but to say that it doesn't exist in straight bars is disingenous. the aesthetics of camp and retro, postmodernism, musical theatre, "Antiques Roadshow", cappuccino culture, pottery barn, goth and punk, in-your-face activism, "Friends" and movies like "Scream" and "Rush Hour" have gay roots. so if you've been saying that you don't live the "gay lifestyle", stop being so homophobic and accept it, you ARE.

the queer youth that i have been working with in my volunteer work at PRIDE Youth, don't talk about a "gay lifestyle." to them, the gay subculture is so ingrained into the mainstream that they don't recognize it as separate. they do experience their alienation in their lives, but "Will and Grace" or even "Queer as Folk" is part of the mainstream, something they can't really call their own. where older gay men have difficulty with obviously gay signifiers such as pink triangles and rainbow flags, the youth have embraced this because they have nothing to call their own. the youth, having peers who are more accepting of their sexuality, are more accepting of their own levels of masculinity/femininity. they have less latent self-homophobia that men in their late 20s and beyond have about "acting gay." they are more open to the concept of transgenderism.

the death of the Circuit Boy is imminent. the aberzombification of queer youth is a testament to this. bodybodywear and universal gear clothing that are the uniforms of the aging circuit boys are becoming more mainstream. the Jocko and YMLA look so favored by International Male Catalog seem quaint and outdated--a piece of kitsch. queer youth are so much more accepted in underground raves right now, that when they come of age, going to a circuit party would be overkill. and the Circuit Boy will just be another relic of the nineteen-nineties.

Thursday, August 16, 2001

The World of Gay Dating: The Check, Please.

i am a pretty easy going guy, but the concept of what to do with a check at dinner is really quite a mine field.

if it's a first date, i usually am happy just to split a check, after all, we're both men here, there's no need for excessive show of gallantry. i am also comfortable with just paying for the whole thing. i usually like low key, affordable restaurants for first dates. it's about getting to know a person in a comfortable setting, not try to impress the other guy with how much class and money you've got. if the dinner went really well, i don't have a problem with picking up the check, because i feel that the other guy can pick it up the next time. this usually gives way to the your-turn-my-turn situation after a few dates, and eventually if it gets serious enough, then i just pay for dinner if i feel like it whether it's my turn or not. i guess that kinda summarizes how i think handling the check should progress: 1. split the check 2. reciprocate 3. pay because you want to show appreciation of the other guy.

the problem i feel is that a lot of guys are just not very good with this whole process. i have gone out with guys who believe that it's the person who asks you out who should pay for dinner. i don't agree with this idea simply because usually somebody's got to make a first move for a date to happen. in a straight setting, this is usually the guy's role. but with a gay setting, this is quite ambiguous. you'd think this would be easier because it can go either way, but i have found that gay men, unless they have dated women, don't really know how to ask another guy out. i wonder how lesbians do it, since women are conditioned to wait for a guy to make a move; they probably wait a lot.

since i am pretty assertive kinda guy, if i like a person, i would simply ask them out. i probably ask guys out more often than i am asked out simply because i don't have the patience to do the stupid smile-and-stare game that a lot of gay men do in a bar. if paying the check is dependent on this, then i am stuck paying for dinner whether or not i enjoyed the date. everyone knows how first dates can turn really bad (they don't call 'em First Date Hell, for nothin'), and sometimes you find out that the guy you thought was interesting and cute at the bar can turn out to be a bore with too much cologne. sometimes i wonder if alcohol lowers your inhibitions or your standards.

anyway, i guess that for me, how a guy you're dating handles the check issue really would reflect how the guy would handle the financial situation in a relationship. it's kind of a testing ground. if you can't split a check, you don't know how to share responsibilities. if you don't reciprocate, you don't know what your financial responsibilities are. if the guy doesn't offer to pay for the check once in a while, he doesn't know how to show his appreciation of you.
that jennifer lopez has a movie career simply astounds me. we rented "The Wedding Planner" last night and i couldn't believe how dumb this movie is. normally, i am pretty easily entertained, and i can suspend disbelief quite easily. this movie, was just extremely slow and clunky. the worst part is, jennifer love hewitt from Party of Five got paid a million bucks just for the idea of this movie. hollywood is so deprived of talent that a noxema commercial girl can parlay a vapid idea for a romantic comedy for a fat check. she needs it, she doesn't have a movie career either. one of these days, all movies will be written by the talentless based on ideas of the untalented. oh, i'm sorry, that's what's happening now.

to j.lo's credit, the script was awfully flimsy, there's really not much for her to do but to crinkle her forehead and look forlorn. matthew mcconaughey is just plain unwatchable, his lines were just dumb. matthew, if you're reading this, GET A HAIRCUT. the best thing about this movie were j.lo's clothes. she looks every bit the successful partner-to-be of a bridal consulting firm.

Wednesday, August 15, 2001

i signed up for the pre-sale of bjork's vespertine concert on aug 14th!!! i am very excited about this concert because it will be held in the lyric opera house in downtown chicago and it will feature bjork backed by a full orchestra. the concert will be like an "unplugged" performance and bjork has chosen her venues that will be appropriate to sing without a mike. BJORK RULES!

Tuesday, August 14, 2001

my friend hyo and i were talking today at lunch and he mentioned to me that he was quite exciting that he is finding more and more non-asian women are more attracted to him (he's korean). he says that he finds it refreshing that these women are able to cross the color line. also, i think that he's excited that somehow his dating pool is becoming wider.

somehow, i don't think that asian women have this issue because the stereotype of an asian woman is quintessentially feminine: demure, polite, servile, delicate beauty, ad nauseum. so straight men of different races find this stereotype within the boundaries of attractiveness.

i have mixed emotions about this, because even though my dating pool is larger, i think that non-asian gay men tend to "exoticize" me. i find this very confining. i am supposed to be a smooth, exotic, submissive partner with a small dick. because i don't fit neatly into the gay asian male stereotype, i think that gay or bisexual men who date asians exclusively don't really find me attractive. i find that the men whom i feel most comfortable with have been men who have never dated an asian before because somehow they don't usually have any preconceived ideas of how i am like.

i think that non-asians somehow feel that the stereotypes of asians are a positive, because the terms that are used like "hardworking", "intelligent", "polite", etc., are positive. but in reality, i feel that somehow i am being held to a higher standard than everybody else. that somehow, my grades have to be higher and my workspace to be neater or that my clothes should be more conservative than what is expected from others. it can be stressful to be thought of the asian that's not living up to the "asian potential." the terms "aggressive", "radical thinker", or even "cool" sound discordant with the asian stereotype. and who wants to be Long Duck Dong in "Sixteen Candles"?

Monday, August 13, 2001

last friday, august 10th, i went to see my friend jason b. at the theatre building on belmont. he was a guest performer in maura pheney's cabaret show "All That and Maura". i've known jason for a while now, and even though we hang out at roscoe's or spin and watch videos and sing along with them (jason's specialty is britney songs), i've never seen him sing onstage. it was a weird, because most of the time we just goof around with the songs when we hang out, maybe a half-hearted attempt on some of the dance moves, or in jason's case, his rendition of "Oops, I Did it Again." the show was funny and very intimate, maura picked some of her favorite showtunes and pop songs. i had a few beers during the show (it was BYOB) and i was ready to bust out by the time the show is over. i usually refrain from drinkin anything during a show or movie, because going to the bathroom is like announcing, "my bladder is so full that i can't sit here any longer so i will stand up and block your view and make a commotion leaving the show and then bother you again as i come back later to my seat." thank god the show was only an hour and a half long, i wouldn't have been able to make it.