Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Here's Something Fun: The Book Jacket for the Thai Version of Tune in Tokyo

You guys, I know you're tired of me talking about myself incessantly, but seriously, this is fun stuff. For some reason, the island nation of Japan, in which I lived for two years (a long time ago, but still) has exhibited no interest whatsoever in translating my book about Japan, Tune in Tokyo, into Japanese, which is just rude and dismissive, no? You know who hasn't been rude and dismissive? Thailand, that's who. Yep, Thailand, that wondrous nation formerly known as Siam, snatched the rights to this book up like a Thai kid in an American candy store or something I don't know whatever.

The bottom line is, I'm thrilled that anyone wants me, and I'm double thrilled that it's Thailand, because I love Thailand--in the original draft of TiT, in fact, there was a chapter about a visit I took to T-land, but I ended up dropping it because it wasn't really on point, but I plan to include that story in a future book, so heads up, Thailand LOVE ME AND ASK ME OUT!

I'm triple thrilled with the design job on this here book jacket. They nailed me! Especially the narrow waist, the large biceps, and the platinum blonde hair. It's like I'm looking into a mirror. What's more, the Thai publisher, Matichon, has included Tune in Tokyo in a "Travelogue Series" of theirs. You wanna see an ad for it? Okay, if you insist.

In conclusion, I don't care that Japan is completely indifferent to my book's existence, because I'll always have Bangkok.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Introducing... Sweet Tooth: the Gay, Diabetic Memoir You've Been Waiting For!

Folks, I have great news, so sit down, shut up, and pour yourself a drink. Or wait, maybe pour yourself a drink, then sit down, then shut up. (Maybe you should shut up first?) Oh, whatever, just shut up and listen: my next book, Sweet Tooth, the follow-up to my generation-defining juggernaut Tune in Tokyo, has a publication date, hooray! You can get your grubby little hands on it on March 11, 2014. Like, this 2014! The year after this one! Do you know how soon that is?

Head on over to Ye Olde Amazon page to pre-order. You might also think about getting copies for your cat wrangler, your food tester, and your doppleganger, because you know you never get them nice things.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Did You Guys Know That Madonna Had Her Picture Taken a Few Times in the 80s?

It's true! More amazing, in fact: one guy, Richard Corman, actually photographed Madonna early in her career, even before she had an album out, or even owned her own upside-down crucifixes. And this fellow is being celebrated at Milk Gallery in NYC with a small but fun exhibit that contains many great shots of our lady hanging in the East Village, and a few shocking photographs of her apparently having lost her mind, braided her hair, and auditioned for Run-DMC?

Anyway, all the gays were there, you guys. All the gays. Here are two of them:

Big fans of Vision Quest, I'm thinking. And here's Madonna at her stove, leaning up against it like she owns it, when obviously she's just renting, at that point.

That up there's my friend Rachel Roth, who made my wedding cake and takes lots of pictures and gets pissed at you if you don't look at them on Instagram, so hurry up and go look at them before she yells at you.

Speaking of Roth's Instagram, I totally stole the next two from it, cause I've just realized I didn't take many pictures. And when you don't have what you need, children, you just take it from someone else. Remember that. Above is Roth with one of the captions. (Roth, where are all your others? I need to steal them.)

Had that same boom box, except bigger and pinker.

I just... I just couldn't... I just couldn't even... it's... what's happening?

Roth would totally have been one of these blurry East Village kids if she hadn't been two years old and living in Raleigh.

And one more with Danise.

Best one of the bunch, IMHO: full cast shot of classic 80s morality tale Desperately Seeking Susan.

Aw, yeah, this is what you came here for. A pic of yours truly in between two Madonna noses. Drink it in, children.

And there are more photos inside but you get the idea, so here's a great one of Danise looking hot in the freezing cold.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Bikeride Into Gomorrah: NYC Pride 2013

Usually I only end up at a parade by accident--say, because I forgot it was happening and wanted to simply make my way home from work or make my way to the Y for a swim or make my way to H and M to return the latest thing I bought that was the wrong size because everything at H and M is apparently tagged with whatever label is closest at hand in the Indonesian sweatshop. But that's a different blog post.

The point is, I never really plan on going to a parade, but on Sunday I had to go into work for a few hours and, because my office building is at 5th and 37th, I got sucked into the best type of parade to stumble upon--a gay one. Sure, all parades are gay, but they don't all advertise themselves as such. So let's take a stroll through these pics and have a gander at all the folks dressed in their underwear/kimonos/flamingo-feathered tank tops in broad daylight, shall we? (You can, of course, click the clicky to enlarge the images. Sorry for any glitches, this new Blogger freaking sux.)

I immediately felt underdressed when I saw this lovely shemale bringing the rainbow realness to 37th Street between 5th and 6th.

I wanted to talk to the dude in the shades about his music box but I don't think he could hear me over the music box.

This geisha pirate doesn't have time for this bullish*t.

Just a normal, every day scene out in front of my office.

Don't pretend like you've never been out in public and needed help with your loincloth.

Hello, sonnies.

That's the same bridal skirt I wore to my confirmation.

Some sort of Shakespearean gay cosplay type thing? Sure.

Those Russians sure know how to ride in a pickup.

That's the same American flag banana hammock I wore to my Nanna's 90th birthday party.

So, the inventor of Chipotle is apparently a gayboy, which explains this (as much as this can be explained).

Yes, this is what I came here for: girls and ladyboys in purple and gray who are ready to bring it, whatever it is. Maybe some flashdancing?

Still ready to bring it. Bringing it any moment now.

Okay, move a little closer, sure. Yep, just walk on past. I didn't want to see any flashdancing yet anyway.

Flashdance commencing. The view from behind.

Guess a video would have been better, huh. Anyway, next...

Not sure what's happening here, but the important thing is that it's confusing.

Ah, and here comes the Berlin float, with some Berliners on it.

We are all Berliners now. Speaking of Berliners, I'm pretty sure you're ready to see a few more pictures of the smoking hot dude with the shaved head and sunglasses in the picture up top, right?

His name is Dieter and he's the new star of all of my sex dreams that take place at Brandenburg Gate.

Oh, hi again, Dieter. I'm worried that your pants are too high. Maybe shove them down a little?

Wait, these boys aren't Dieter. Nehmen Sie mich zuruck zu Dieter!

That's more like it. A few more of Dieter before he floats away maybe?

Phew, that was exhausting. Now, where can I go to get some gay coffee?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

SeeTimBlog Explainer: Why People Hate Bikers in NYC [UPDATED]

Everyone hates everyone in New York at one time or another, often for good reason. Because in this sea of selfish humanity, let’s face it, there’s plenty to hate: hipsters with their idiotic carnie wardrobes and artisanal organic eyeglass frames; tourists with their snail’s pace and their girth; jerkwads who insist on pushing onto a subway train as soon as the doors open without first letting folks off; cabbies who don't want to go to Brooklyn; hosts/hostesses at nice restaurants who treat you like the trash you are; hot, well-dressed dynamos with their great clothes, luscious hair, chiseled features, smoldering sex appeal, fat wallets, and shiny shoes; rats; hipster rats with their fedoras and Animal Collective T-shirts. They are all the worst. But do you know who’s even worse than the worst? Bikers.

By day I'm an undercover photographer
Everyone hates bikers. HATES them. I know because I am one. I bike every day from Greenpoint, Brooklyn to my office a few blocks north of the Empire State Building. As a biker, you can feel the seething, sizzling hatred coming at you from all sides—from pedestrians, minivan drivers, school children, nannies, French bulldogs, pigeons, hipster pigeons, and, especially, cabbies. More than once I’ve seen a taxi intentionally swerve to scare a cyclist. Once I was honked at and loudly scolded by an old bat in an Escalade for not staying in the bike lane on Avenue A—even though the bike lane was currently blocked due to construction, so I had no choice in the matter. Another time I barely missed getting doored by a guy in a parked car—and I know he saw me because I made eye contact with him in his sideview mirror before he opened his door (and saw him laughing when I pulled off to the side and turned around). It’s not totally rational, this hatred of bikers. But it’s there and it’s kind of breathtaking.

But here’s the thing: this hatred of bikers isn't totally irrational, either. A lot of the time, I hate bicyclists, too. They are constantly and brazenly doing idiotic, life-threatening, and completely unnecessary things—like, say, going the wrong way when getting off the Manhattan side of the Williamsburg Bridge instead of just being reasonable and waiting for the light (see the photos). See, that part of the bridge was redesigned about a year ago to encourage bikes to slow down and wait for the signal before entering traffic or crossing over to the north side of Delancey Street—too many of us, including myself, were deciding they couldn’t wait and that they were just going to elegantly slip into traffic so they wouldn’t have to stop. Most of the time this was fine—you could judge that a gap between cars was emerging and go for it. But I’m sure sometimes it was gnarly, and people got hurt. Hence the redesign, with a much narrower point of entry onto the street and a steep decline to encourage slower speeds. The city also put up not just one but two “WRONG WAY” signs so that folks would know that, though there was another narrow passageway one could take to avoid having to wait for the light, one should not take that path because it is reserved for folks coming from the other direction and that if one did do that, one was being kind of an asshole. 

Yet bikers continually just ignore the signs and do whatever the fuck they want because fuck it. (Should the city have put up a third sign? One saying "STOP being an asshole"?) Now, I’m not typically a scold, and some rules for bikers are dumb—I don’t tend to come to a full stop at every stoplight on any old one-way street, for example. But some rules aren’t. And while, sure, we can all be dumb assholes at times--like when we get pissed on the bridge when we are overtaken on the uphill climb by an elementary schooler so we make it our one goal in life to overtake that little f*cker if it kills us--eat my dust, pipsqueak! Who among us hasn't done that? But still, on balance, one's behavior on a city bicycle must reflect one's sanity and good judgment if one is not to be wished dead by one's fellow cityzens.

Another dipshit who can't read
And it’s not just the constant breaking of clearly expressed—and, again, reasonable—rules that makes bikers so loathsome to their fellow New Yorkers. It’s also the plain-Jane, workaday reckless douchiness of the way folks ride. I take First Avenue up to Twenty-Ninth Street, and, sadly, the bike lane is on the left—this is the east side, which means that the vast majority of folks are turning left, making for a constant clusterfuck at every intersection. Yet so many of my fellow cyclists bike as if they’re in a race to the damn Apple Store. It’s not a fucking race, nerds. Bikers must constantly slow down, swerve out of the way to avoid parked cars in the bike lane or left-turners crowding it, and, yes, sometimes stop at lights so that they don’t go splat. You are not on the West Side bike path and you are not going to win a prize if you get to work five minutes earlier, probably. You are in freaking New York traffic. I’m all for going a decent speed, and there are definitely slowpokes who need to get the lead out sometimes (though I cut them some slack because sometimes they’re old and sometimes they’re probably just newbies at city bike commuting), but there’s absolutely no need for the kinds of speeds I see bikers going on this street every day—especially since I often end up reuniting with folks who whipped past me ten blocks ago at the light at Fourteenth or Twenty-Third, because that’s just how it goes. The hare and the tortoise, together again! (The hare and the tortoise will probably get to their jobs within minutes of each other.)

In conclusion, I’ll just say that one morning a few years ago I was stopping at a light that had just turned red at Houston Street and Avenue A, and a cyclist whipped past me on the right to speed across the (massive) intersection. He managed to clear it without dying and then, on the opposite side of the street, ran smack into the back of a delivery truck like a cartoon character. He fell off his bike and got the stink eye from the delivery guy as he was getting out of the vehicle. Once the biker got up and I saw that he was okay, I was able to admit to myself that that was the most satisfying thing I’d seen since Akasha got eliminated in the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. 

I’m not proud to say that. But it’s true.

Be nice out there. Practice your "not being an asshole" skills. And as RuPaul herself says, don't f*ck it up. Because guess what: bikeshare stations are imminent, so the number of idiots on bikes is only going to increase...

This little blog essay was apropos! Looks like the city is moving to crack down on bikers being assholes by stationing guards on high-traffic bridges and bike paths with signs saying "Just F**king Stop and Wait a Second, Would You?". Look here and here.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Tune in Tokyo Surges Back Into Amazon's Top 100 Like a Leviathan (That Was Deeply Discounted for Some Sort of Special Promotion or Something)

Folks, the world thought it was done with my book Tune in Tokyo, but the world was wrong, because, see, the world is now controlled by Amazon, and Amazon is not done with Tune in Tokyo, the world, or controlling the world. 

The point is, TiT was featured in some local deals Kindle promotion yesterday and was discounted to 99 cents. And, as always happens in nature when things are deeply discounted, TiT shot up the Amazon Kindle chart, where it had been languishing at like number a million. (Actually, it's been fluctuating between #30,000 and #70,000 for the past few months.) Last night it reached #69, which I think you'll agree is the most perfect position for it. Sadly, I forgot to take a screen grab of it, so I'm having to settle for this one, where I'm #72, in front of both Sheryl Sandberg's book and the Fifty Shades of Grey filth. Leaning in!

Jukebox: "Teenage" by Veronica Falls

Every springtime, one special song bursts from the fluffy white April skies, squiggles into your earholes, and burrows squarely inside your head to give you a much-needed lift after a long, dreary winter. It colors everything you do and makes even tedious actions like doing dishes, folding laundry, cleaning your cat Stella's crapper, or alphabetizing your boxes of incense seem like the happiest chores you've ever half completed because they present the opportunity to blast this song again and yelp along to it in ecstatic, blissful ignorance of how annoying this might be to your neighbors.

This song is usually brought to you by some collection of young mopey skinny British twenty-somethings with terrible/awesome haircuts and a penchant for sad 'n sparkling melodic hooks that just don't quit. (If they aren't British, they are Japanese or American, but they all probably wish they were British, if only for the socialized health care and the easy access to Cadbury Starbars.) The song captures the lush romance of youth, the jittery magic of first love, and/or the one point in time when everything's shining bright--that exquisite point in time just before it all turns to shit and hope dies. It's a wonderful point in time!

In my case, past songs of this particular distinction have included this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, and this one. (That's one whole half of a side of a mix tape, so you're welcome.)

Well, I'm happy to report that I've just found the song that will be digging me out of the wreckage of winter, and it's a marvel. It's by a foursome of fraggles from Britain called Veronica Falls, and it's got everything: passionless vocals, heady harmonies, guitar jangle, and an ear worm of a melody that just won't quit. Aren't you jealous that you didn't find it first? It's okay! These songs were meant to be shared and adored, if not by mix tape, then by the Internet. So here you go, you're welcome (again).

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Um, What? Dept.: French Anti–Gay Marriage Protests

So here's something you didn't realize was a thing: French homophobia. Like "Russian pizza" or "Hawaiian goulash," French homophobia is something we just all assumed to be self-evidently nonexistent. Because the French, after all, are not only the most irritating people on the planet besides Americans, they are also the gayest. After one glass of Beaujolais, any French man you meet on the street or in the park or at the baguette emporium will be begging to have a rock-hard dick in his mouth. This is just scientific fact, proven by me, in the early nineties, in Paris. So this? This is kind of shocking. Sure, a majority of the French public is in favor of equal rights for gay couples, but, let's face it, that's weak support from what we all assumed was the only population on earth to have every single one of its citizens at least go through a gay phase, in their twenties, enthusiastically. What's going on?

There have been beatings. There have been mean words shouted in faces and written on placards. There have been offensive Facebook posts. And get this: some protesters against gay marriage are starting to call their movement "the French Spring." I mean. Don't they know that that sounds like the name of a kickin' gay bar on the Champs-Élysées? Don't they know that any phrase containing the word "French" and/or "Spring" sounds like a kickin' gay bar on the Champs-Élysées? These protesters are probably taking breaks from their marches and going into the woods with their buddies to, how do you say, make the sodomy. What do they tell themselves afterward, on their way back to the march? "It's not gay if it's in a three-way"? But yes it is, if all of you are men! And don't the people in the photo below realize that just because they are holding signs affirming their belief in 1 papa and 1 maman doesn't mean that they don't look totally queer for each other?

The world makes less and less sense as the years go on, amiright? What's next? A fragrance by Lady Gaga called "Intolerance"? A new single by Elton John with backup vocals by the Westboro Baptist Church choir? Michelle Shocked turning into a weird anti-gay religious nut?