there is a portion of beach street, the western end where it curves into an intersection with 6th avenue, conveniently forming beach street park, that i pass every evening on the way to the subway. the building at that corner mimics the curve in its gorgeous roman brick, the american thread company, the proportion of whose detailing is not available with today's union-labor-specified union brick. union brick maximizes labor cost but is not the 1:10 or 1:12 proportion that makes roman brick so gorgeous. windows with curved heads with sunburst brick headers above those; there are so many hand-laid bricks on this tall building it's hard to imagine anyone being able to afford building it. the sidewalk bends around a dias-like set of stairs and voila, you've slickly curved your way out of sleepy post-work tribeca and are looking up 6th avenue facing a huge expanse of a traffic island and canal street.
i was making that corner today, feeling a little peaked from sleeplessness last night (making next saturday's birthday plans), but feeling the brick, feeling the gorgeously cool summer weather, feeling that i've been fortunate these last few weeks; so many friends are out and about when i am, so that the city feels like a small park, and all of our doors lead to it, so invariably we will see each other. see them and they're available for a coffee, or to shop for whatever, because it would extend the pleasure of having run into a friend. i was preparing this blog entry on the curve, smooth.
the backside of this bending building is completely different. like a bent block, the building has a cinched corner behind it, visible from canal street. instead of the sandy-golden facade, the back is whitewashed and has a continuous strip grid of black windows in the crease worthy of gropius' bauhaus (or his fagus factory, or behrens' AEG turbine factory) as if to release the tension of the innermost corner with glass.
as i rounded the corner there were many very fast impressions, of which i had to get through a few before i could look away; the usual speed of that portion of 6th avenue, where traffic rushes through canal street regular as the day and night, was completely frozen; frozen because of a sidelined MTA bus and one police car and several barracades; this constellation of obstacles that had formed an eddy of asphalt protecting the objects on it; the objects a mountain bike in pieces, a black flip-flop sandal, and a piece of stained sock being carefully picked up by an officer and placed into a plastic bag. i got this far before knowing what not to look for next and looked at the subway entrance. the scene was having the same affect on my fellow sidewalkers. i rushed down the stairs.
this interruption in my reverie, my entry and it's trite and smooth solidification, multiplied my thoughts, put several directions in motion at once; death of friends-of-friends; how we'd been locked in at martin's place saturday and our fun was suddenly erased by the dick of a locksmith that had been called to help; bike trips and why i've stopped riding in the city; perhaps my upcoming 30th birthday is a good reason to reflect on aging after all. this is what i did on the A train back, think about these things, especially the last. that it's not so bad that i take for granted being young and healthy and happy: if i thought about it all the time, i'd never enjoy it. but that i don't often consider what to do with that youth and health and happiness, how to amplify it, and yes how to fight for it and how to make it last.
i was looking for a chance to talk to you since you came in the door
it was a memorable pickup line despite the fact that it wasn't the most clever, or the fact that my head was clouded by martin's drinks, and having had another pleasurably addling conversation with carl, during which he completed a line i began saying, when i was recalling what i'd recorded that he'd said when we met a year ago:
one man's meat is another man's poison
i was out looking for familiarity, and i'd found it. out to get away from the rock i keep putting myself under when i'm avoiding social situations that might lead to love. yes, oddly still vulnurable after the david thing. fortunately, pickup in east village bar is not one of these social situations.
but the first line wasn't carl's, it was by someone else, and it was the first time i'd picked someone up in my favorite bar, strangely enough. also memorable because it was the first pickup in any memory that i didn't do an extended necking and groping in the bar before leaving. i usually go to another bar for my pickup assignations. in fact, a couple of weeks ago i was there, first time in many months, seeing lots of friends out and about, as usual, and walking into the back area, i sensed someone was near; i glanced over, and in the same motion began a heavy neck, heavy grope with a hunky blonde. we were in each other's pants for a while, standing, and never really spoke until we were in the cab. he had a master's in architecture too and we had a lot to talk about. there is great comfort in feeling that the sex is available back there, almost as an unconscious state to be summoned; his hand touched my ass exactly the way i like it, and i was stroking his dick in a way that got him hard quickly, both actions as if we'd known each other several years.
but last night
i want to ask you if you would go home with me, but i'm too afraid to ask.
well, you could start by saying "if we continue like this i may have to kiss you"
was the first time i'd quoted proust in a pickup conversation.
both tricks put together the diversity of play out there, all with the same objective: get laid. nothing more. it's satisfying to be able to enjoy that uncomplicated pleasure.
i've looked at a lot of air lately.
after all the weekend trips the last couple of months, i've seen a multitude of changes in atmospheric colors, so many indescribable blends, barely discernable light changes, clouds solid or chameleal. i've seen a lot of new york from the air, and because there are only a few approaches to LGA, i've been able to contemplate the landscape of NYC through the almost-the-same, yet various, flyovers. every time a pattern over manhattan, in and out. sleepy weekend in DC ending when i fly with central park only a few thousand feet below me and slowly but consistently sliding by my oval window. seconds before, seeing the building my gym is in from the air, as well as the many quotidien landmarks that define the contours of my daily existence. there was a feeling of astoundment that became momentum for finding the chain of places that are my mental map of new york, now seen from the air as a real map, distant.
if i were a careless writer or had simple needs i might say seeing manhattan from the air, separated by so much atmosphere, is like seeing my life, in that a midsummer ennui has been disconnecting me from events, my job, my very creativity (although some seem to think i work best when i'm not thinking about it), my emotions and that i feel like my mind is in a fog, my brain dense no matter what i do.
you don't go out to sea to conquer it, because it will always win: at best you call it a draw and survive
but because i heard these words earlier that afternoon on a PBS show while watching with my brother and one of his sleeping baby daughters, the words reminding me of how i prepared myself when i moved to new york seven years ago this august, saying to myself "the city is too big to take over right away, and like a fast river, you are plunged in and the only way to survive is to swim with it and keep afloat, and perhaps find your stroke in the meantime", and because the late evening summer yellow sun brought these quotidien landmarks into view when they would be invisible under less favorable lighting conditions, i am honestly able to write only this: that during this evening's approach i was separated from my new york only by a surfeit of transparency, which made me not disconnected but able to see the parts connected clearly, and that my emotional state was made vulnerable not by malaise but by a creeping lack of confidence in myself, both on creative and emotional fronts, and perhaps i'd stopped swimming a little. i had mistaken gradual paralysis for floating along.
Truth happens to an idea. It becomes true, is made true by events.
this is a review of the gehry show at the guggenheim, meant to be merely a critical extension of what is clearly visible at the show. if you own the architecture of frank gehry, you know exactly what i'm going to say. none of that book is in this show.
none of gehry's early work pertaining to the nature of life in southern california is here, except the projects that were so famous no curatorial excess could exclude them. i'm thinking in particular of the santa monica place, or the hay barn. i'm not saying that these works in and of themselves were earth-shattering, but they would problematize the teleology laid onto gehry's work that leads, of course, to the massive building that is proposed for the east river, which, of course, is the project in the first room, which of course, is the proposed guggenheim.
i've long been ambivalent about gehry's work, most notably when he began figuring out how to do things with CATIA. it was this point where his work went from sculptural but clunky because it was his experience with 70s california architecture culture and his experience with artists like claus oldenburg and his projects became sculpturally clumsy with extreme computer-driven precision. as a colleague of mine likes to say "now you can always see the fat hand at work. use an exacto blade!".
on one hand, his work is admirable in that it's produced on a scale that required him to construct a profession that could produce it, and teach the building industry to build it. i've long said this will be his lasting contribution to architecture, if the successor firms (when his employees start their own firms after he dies) don't languish in the usual father-worship that happens when someone so important is gone.
on the other hand, the literal translation of a sketch that the aerospace model-scanning software provides is something that circumvents one of the prime struggles in an architect's creative life, that is, making your big dumb but beautiful lines into the materially fine assemblies that are buildings. in my opinion, any new tool that sidesteps this struggle would at least benefit from a measure of interrogation, instead of simply regarding the old struggle as irrelevant because it existed before digital technology. it appears as if there is none in his recent work. this isn't to say that gehry is simplistic, and by no means would i make the claim that he isn't cogent of any of these factors. he's a very affable, up-front guy, and has won many a large commission because he cuts through the archi-crap and gives you the goods, on budget and on time. but while the new tools have taken practice to a new realm, they have also opened up a host of issues that make this show seem a little thin, because the projects are the first run, a beta architecture if you will for future projects that will be better.
and also on the other hand, what i personally strive for can to a certain extent be said of his work, because it's an idea i derived from his early projects: that use and sculptural form can collapse, and it's impossible to distinguish between the two. but the late projects, particularly guggenheims bilbao and new york, simply show that the form of an art museum can be anything, so long as it's big enough and engages the site and program in a careful and unexpected way. knowing his background and objectives, that being architect outsider with a larger interest in sculpture than anything in architectural history/theory, his proposals for guggenheims and other museums is one approach to making art museums today, one that addresses issues preoccupying all of us making these buildings, even if his solution isn't the most adventurous.
where it breaks down, and my ambivalence becomes negative indifference, is when this sculptural idea is applied to non-art programs, like the case western building (which is actually extremely beautiful in person, with warped brick walls complete with doubly-warped laminated glass window, but the plan is just a dumb ole' office building with a couple of classrooms floating through the atrium, complete with a million little offices. stupid program in a pretty wrapper.) or the upcoming MIT building, which is beyond not-elegant and may even be described as fatuous. they devote a whole room to this project, but all the research didn't make any sense to me.
i'm the one who defends someone like gehry with my peers: anyone who is 70 and is doing what he loves gets the benefit of the doubt. and i'm not fully disturbed by the idea that all the massive buildings i saw on the big ramp uptown will all be built and they all look the same, because he won't be around forever (although if he contiues as long as phillip johnson, i'll be 50 and he'll still be around!) and i know that there will be a point where we can see the finiteness of his output. we'll be able to put a number to the buildings: number X, the number of wavy frank gehry buildings in the world. but the guggenheim museum curatorial staff should not have been so desparate to use an architecture show to showcase their new museum that they turn an architect's still-emerging oeuvre into some things it's not.
(it's like the first time going into some massive home-improvement big-box store: you anticipate that this is just a really big hardware store. then you see that they sell lighting. real lighting. and whole door assemblies, frame and leaf. and hundreds of previously-unheard-of accessories like a radium test kit. who thought you would need a radium test kit? where did all these wacky things come from? who are these things for? then you realize: it's for you. you could be the one buying this. if it's in here, you could need it, and the astonishment makes you at least consider getting it. your whole perspective on what you should be getting out of the whole experience is thrown into readjustment.)
now that you've made me want to die
you tell me that you're unboyfriendable
and i could make you pay and pay
but i could never make you stay...
since the day in the late 1980s when i first heard dad's copy of the white album ("hey dad, these guys are really good!") i've been behind the curve. that is to say that this entry is about two years late.
after dudley scolded me for downloading his song (track 8, first disc) from aimster, after having lost his job only a couple of weeks ago, royalty check in the mail, and him telling me that they weren't going to make the box set with the beautiful book soon, i panicked (actually only the second part made me panic, the first part i just bought him a drink and we continued onto other things), and ran to rebel rebel and got 69 love songs.
a pretty girl is like a violent crime
if you do it wrong you could do time
and even though i'm pretty familiar with this album, after personally witnessing jonno's (more timely) adoration of it, and martin's ongoing adoration, up close and personal gave me a sense of adoration and personal connection. so many directions are captured in this work, aided by the fact that i know one of the players. it benefits from having been recorded in stephin merritt's studio: there's a casualness about the cadences that is amplified by his casually rhyming lyrics. (my favorite lyrics are those that don't need to rhyme, or the meter is constantly and skillfully interrupted, and even more clever rhymes emerge. see multiple jeff tweedy quotes throughout these pages). the recordings have been perfectly considered, which means that they are technically perfect when it suits him.
home was anywhere with diesel gas
love was a trucker's hand
never stuck around long enough
for a one-night stand
there's also a sensation of "where did this extraordinarily talented guy come from?" that pervades my listening (which says more about my own ignorance than anything else). there's also the sensation of "this is american" and that is not just stephin's jonny cash voice; rather, it's the lyric, the highway thinking.
love is like jazz
you make it up as you go along
and you act as
if you really knew the song
but you don't
and you never will
the first disc was the one i knew by heart before purchase. the others are just as incredible. it's luxurious to get to the end of the first amazing 23 song disc and have two more yet to hear.
well i don't know why but i just feel like dancing
i especially appreciate that this was based at first for an idea for a show, and putting the different singers in motion is intentionally playing is-this-one-best-or-will-the-next-one-be?
abigail's gonna be the beauty of county galway
and she will live always
in a world of love
this three disc set is what belle and sebastion wants to continue to be.
in spite of my usual listlessness with regards to housework, a newer impulse has emerged, one arising from the fact that i have lived here for a long enough time to reach saturation. for about a year or so now i've had to discard (or bring to work) a book everytime i acquire a new one, and my closet has had the same one-in-one-out policy for at least two years.
i've lived here long enough to have obtained, accrued, or made objects that no longer have meaning for me. in fact, many of books, objects, and an enormous pile of index cards and napkins have become unfamiliar. oh, this last category is the most pernicious, because little scraps of paper take no space, yet somehow i have uncovered many separate hidden piles of them, and i'm certain dozens more exist in boxes or drawers that i'm afraid to open in fear of an infinitely expanding project.
and lately, with my new computer and my new refigerator, i've decided to clean house to better frame these lovely devices.
all the thoughts on scraps of paper on my desktop that i want to record but get rid of the actual artifacts they were recorded on
in no particular order.
1. (napkin notes prior to making littleminx.com late 1999 (side one i think)) People are using the web in explicit, directed ways. No one is "browsing"... Either for sexually gratification or information. For other forms of entertainment? Magazines.. (side two) My website can have a different identity. Just as 'Woo uses an alter ego to play on the personal-site thing, mine can be a new, beautiful information dispensor, which is structured and masquerades as news/info, but disseminates my work, my ideas. It subverts the information search, the search engine, meta tags, etc.
2. (index card with sketch of sacred heart tattoo 1999ish) the only scar [sketch of heart] of personality self-surgery.
3. (index card note of phrase from online personal ad i liked 1997) intelligent, attractive, and kind.
4. (water-stained index card 1997-8) Keats: negative capability: suspending judgement is the best way to strengthen the critical faculty.
5. (index card from my saint louis days, probably 1993) Do what you can. Begin by curbing your sneers and complaints. Heighten your spirits. Celebrate your existence, don't deplore it. Live in your body not your mind. Eat more chocolate than beans. Fuck often. Follow your bliss over hill and dale--James Broughton when asked how to handle a cheerless existence.
6. (index card from january before david came to visit january) List of special things for David J. 1. dinner at home. 2. dinner and a movie. 3. a walk somewhere. 4. a special show. 5. flowers at bed. 6. pictures 7. met on friday night.
7. (postit from january) To my special boy! [heart shape] thank you [heart shape] david j--- [address]
8. (index card song lyric sketch 1999) youve done me/insiginficant/in a recent way.
9. (blog notes on back of my business card 2000) "to stay?" vs. "for here"
-differences in NYC
-inscription of habit and culture from past
-i switch between.
...and how beautiful you are going to be at 40, or 50
- why your fother is seen by others as sexy.
10. (business card notes for possible dreamdate update 2000) small, quiet, dark eyes closed like praying, science times sticking out of black overcoat pocket slightly smiling, work boots, old jeans but not going anywhere on sat[urday], silver ring held by thumb and index.
11. (index card 1999) [cartoon sketches of kate spade handbags for presentation design]
12. (index card notes for what i would want from a new job may 2000) 5-less hours? 1-creative work 2-pay/benefits 4-growth 3-project management
13-18. (index cards with phone numbers of people i had crushes on but i now no longer speak to 1999-2000) [names and numbers omitted]
19. (index card with two separate notes 1997/1999) (side one) monday 9:30 CBGB (side two)
- paralleled in theory and academy
- academy as site for "theoretical profession"
- necessary - inspirational
- danger: hermeticism and lack of production
- paralleled in profession-production of power only.
20. (index jeff tweedy lyric 2000)you don't have to be poor
to hang with me
cuz there'll be no more
G F G
There's a man on TV claims he killed 23
G F G
Burnt their bodies and collected their teeth
There's another man at home with his wife and family tree
Who agree this would make a good movie
G F G
And I'm sittin' here, wonderin' what this is all doin' to me
G F G
He sold the book rights, and he was set for life
G F G
A woman on a talk show wants to be his wife
Another man decides to purchase his knife
A court decides he's got the right
G F G
And I'm sittin' here, wonderin' how he can ever sleep at night
I don't want to walk where he walked
I don't want to talk to who he stalked
I don't want to walk where he walked
G F G
First it was a book, and then it was a movie
G F G
They cut it all up and they put it on the TV
The starring role was played by Christopher Reeves
He was fine, he was something to see
G F G
And I'm sitting here, wondering what this is all doing to me
I don't want to walk where he walked
I don't want to talk to who he stalked
I don't want to walk where he walked
Oh Lord I didn't catch how he got caught
End on G
curling the barbell yesterday, an unusual fourth set for me, very heavy, feeling the burn (i did), feeling the pump, noticing the pump, the vascularity of my upper arm defined by new veins popping up on each curl, and my dick jumping on each curl, i was getting off on the exercise. funny, i used to have to watch others do that. now it's all about pushing myself.
pushing myself at work; mired in an under-staffed construction documents set for the loft, where i alone am working to sketch out every single detail--no matter how mundane--in all 30-some pages of drawings and unknown number of pages of specifications, all the while trying to design/resolve complex millwork/architectural/glass joints, explore manufacturers who will make a custom laminated glass and also slump (bend) it, extend the project's material pallette to fully realize the design intentions. however, because it's been every-day beautiful outside, all i can do is think about going to the piers and sunning with the daddies on the lawn. with no team, and the principal in charge on vacation, and other vague melancholies, it's all i can do to get on the downtown train in the morning. so i've no choice but to push myself, make myself do all these things, work harder, learn to love this next level of the project as much as i have all the others.
all the others on the 23rd street platform this morning, after a quick bagel-stop in chelsea, were looking mighty fine. the grid of columns between uptown and downtown helping to caffeinate my architectural imagination as much as the cutie on the other side was exciting another part of it. he was my height, my weight, in a tightish shirt i don't own but would look just as good in. he was reading. i couldn't distinguish if i was attracted to him or the idea that i was excited to have the kind of body that i would find attractive across a platform. other features obscured by distance, i would be him.
i would be him is what i told my self several years ago. since the moment i covertly downloaded a core set of sexy pictures in a research lab at columbia university (the pleasures of root access unix box), i have always had a section for guys i would like to look like. and from the beginning, it was explicit, that i was unhappy with my body, and that this is someone i would look like if i did something about it. through the years i have continued to collect them. the other week, i was downloaded some more images, and for the first time (i thinK) i skipped across the ones that i would have usually taken because of they were mimetic of me. it wasn't out of any victorious feeling, but more the satisfaction that is had when you are genuinely interested in something else. body issues out of the way, i'm able to distinguish between object of lust and object of fascination.
'object of fascination' is also a list that i composed in my head yesterday doing tricep pull-downs, seeing many interesting/attractive people at the gym at the same time, composing not one list of hotties but several lists. he's number one on the 'guys i want to beat off with in the steam room' list, who is also number four of 'guys i want to take home and have sex with', and there's another who is number two of 'guys who are fascinating in that over-tattooed over-cycled kind of way'.
the kind of way that all artists work, in that they not only make things, but define the very terms of the way the work is to be judged, its critical context. it's a natural extension of an artist's relationship to the city: in order to work, one must define the very territory and methods by which that work is produced. that this is routinely ignored, or at the least not centerpieced, in favor of always already looking at the results of that making, is the single most common mistake made by creative people. it's a wonder.
i wonder if defining all the territory also is a necessary component to relationships in the city. i was thinking this after picking up a sandwich in tribeca, crossing some warm asphalt on a quiet back street, passing hundreds of new lofts being converted/constructed down there. is that what it takes to attract another, not looking for the other at all, but making your own world big enough? is it as simple as building a space for oneself where no one has lived before?
i went to the cock last night.
i had a semi-hardon on the train today, going home from work with my messenger bag on my lap. eyes closed, kinda thinking about the pictures jocko sent me, but mostly thinking about tuesday.
i had taken a picture of myself in the locker room. i do this from time to time; i like to do it. it looked good. i looked nice in the mirrors too; chest workout sunday and arms tuesday equals pumped junior.
i was also thinking about the steam room encounter section of this blog, and how empty it's been. very long time since i've been in there at all: no one interesting to play with. indeed, i've not really looked at many guys much up there. or if i look, it's just to look, then get on with pumping some nice iron. pumping iron has become a turnon, pushing myself to concentrate more, do better because i solely want to. more difficult challenge.
tuesday the one guy i looked at is one i've looked at before, even cruised. someone i've crossed paths with in the weight room several times recently, and tried to cross a look, but no dice. figured he was straight. it was this very thick muscular latin guy who was shorter than me. took a long look at his round and juicy ass up there, and he was perfectly able to see me in the mirror. i didn't care if he was straight and did, i wanted to look anyway. insert prince doves-cry momentum here for a second (you've got the butterflies all tied up). then pull back.
he was in the steam room. i was into him, but as per my now-custom, didn't pursue at all, just looked a couple of times. he put his hands on his crotch once or twice. another guy sat between us and cutie quit touching his crotch, whilst the new guy was stroking. eventually cutie left. i did shortly after, and cutie was waiting outside his shower (no gang showers) with head turned looking straight at me, showing me what i'd taken in with pants on: ass. i smiled and said hi, and showered.
we both went back into steam and it was empty. said what's up, how was your workout. he asked what my background was, which i had no answer for; he then asked my nationality and i told him i was from ohio. he seemed surprised that i was american. i asked him if i could get the steam going: the thermostat plate was above his head, and i put my hand on it to trip the steam. it took a few seconds for my hot hand to cool down the plate enough, and he just kind of looked at my crotch. i sat back down, removed towel, and he did the same. we stroked ourselves and looked at each other. his penis was enormous. we chatted too, very friendly and not all that staring and scowling. we were laughing, cuz we were having good clean fun getting off on the sight of each other. sexy talk about tattoos. after a while, we were too hot from the steam, and people were coming in. we didn't want an audience, and both showered.
kind of smiled at him when he went to the mirror near my bench and checked out his ass in his pants. he looked at me a little sheepish. i smiled, gave him an encouraging look, and motioned that it looked good. we walked out together, walked a block, stopped at a parting corner. we chatted. he has a husband, couldnt go to his place, he didn't want to go uptown. he then broke out and said "your eyes, they are so beautiful! wow. ohio-boy." and then told me "just because i have a husband doesn't mean i don't want to suck on that nice dick of yours". i hail maryed him my phone #. then i was watching that ass, those shoulders go, with their soft bounce, has kept me in business for two days.
pleasure of cleveland
my family loves him. my aunt said he was hot, mom thought he was cute and very, very sweet.
with many internet buddies, the first meeting is framed by an inevitable dissapointment: that something about their personality has escaped capture by telecommunications, that things are naturally edited out in the blog, or the correspondance, or the telephone calls, and it shows up in full glory the first time you buy coffee together. these things can be positive or negative qualities, and are usually small, but their significance is always the same: you did not anticipate it.
jim jocko is one of a small number who i can say with all honestly did not have any unexpected hidden features. in fact, most of his features were hidden to me, by design, except his voice, and a little idea of what his face looked like: an exceptionally winning smile (won my family in two 5-minute meetings), an appealing height, beautiful tattoos, and that musculature, the way he prances with it, a work in progress walking down the street, twiddling fingers and hands. he's the first person i've met in a long time whose online persona is intentionally incomplete, obtuse, incongruent, hard-to-follow, and perfectly gorgeous because of it. he doesn't care if you know the whole story, too busy smiling.
he's emotionally there, but doesn't really connect it to specific events in his day-to-day, or his family, or his boyfriend. he keeps it open, as all good artists do. because of this there's a lot unknown unless one asks. not concealing, but under the radar. even our correspondance and telephone conversations, while filled with a fairly close and subtle friendship, are very low on facts and data. there's just too much to talk about, making it up as we go, talking over each other, surfeit of enthusiasm. yet i've the creeping feeling he listens more than he talks...
this all goes to say that meeting jocko jim is a way of completing an unfinished picture through common experience.
(leather stallion saloon)
seeing buildings and art, superheros kick, having coffee, going to queer bars, getting me drunk, going to leather bar, going other places, driving, meeting his buddy david, driving some more, checking out the territory, telling him this nose or that ass is a feature belonging elsewhere in the constellation of unmet bloggers (montage to help fill in the picture).
jim was but a perfect parallel ohioan in taking pleasure in the paradoxes of urban and not-urban, accentuated by a cleveland accent.
gay bars in cleveland: like most places, the music is not so good, and an inexplicable attraction to glass block with neon inside. the morning following the cleveland foray, i reflected on the bars in chelsea, and marvelled at how perfect they must seem to those in small cities: expensive environment and a huge attendance combine to make a world that is complete. and in new york, there are whole neighborhoods of bars, which itself adds to the sense that there's so much out there, it's a complete world (landscape designers call this sensation "apparent extent"). despite the fact that bars in smaller cities that aspire to this and cannot ever be it is itself a little pathetic, it is wonderful to me because it's an opportunity to see outside the completeness-illusion, see the edges of gay life in a place, a gay life less accustomed to separate subenvironments, apportioned by age, body type, type of crowd, type of sex, but one where everyone is potentially admitted because it is necessary to sustain critical mass (fun).
i don't mean this with any kind of altruistic "everyone included is better than different places for different groups" because there are urban advantages to both. i also see the only difference in urban conditions between cleveland and new york as that of size and composition, conditions that lead to an almost self-organization of the gay life within. for me, the visits to other, smaller, cities are the only time i really get to see these edges, where everyone hangs at a set of five bars. it should come as no surprise that my tastes in NYC bars tend to those with a lot of loose ends.
but this aspiration for completeness is a pursuit common to all my non-nyc non-san francisco gay bar experiences (i've never been to los angeles, and don't get me started on chicago), an aspiration that threatens the unique and nascent gay culture of places like austin, atlanta, new orleans, and cleveland. it's this culture, or caracteristic, or flavor, or whatever the reader prefers to call it, that is also under the radar, embedded in this case in a specifc accent, played over a manner of ribbing even strangers over how they make change, a midwest speech devoid of both folkishness and indirectness, yet somehow without the opportunism i'm still not fully accustomed to back east. jocko cleveland?
ps all work in this domain is copyright chad the minx.