I gotz to admit that I dragged my ass to the pop-up free Elton John concert that took place today on the parking lot of the “historically significant” Tower Records building on the Rock-N-Roll side of Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. I told myself I was there mostly as a reporter, because this event is […]
It was a gay who’s who and who wore what at Los Angeles The Forum, when Madonna brought her Rebel Heart Tour to the city of Angels for one night only on Wednesday, October 27. The big M dusted off some of her old classic hits like “True Blue,” and “Who’s That Girl,” which she […]
The 2015 Outfest LGBT Film Festival delivered last night, when it screened Madonna’s Truth or Dare documentary as part of their Legacy Project, and later offered a special Q&A with T.O.D director Alek Keshishian, M’s backup singer and dancer of the moment Donna DeLory, as well as dancers Kevin Stea, Carlton Wilborn, and of […]
Mother Nature’s vexing warnings of heavy rain did not deter the gaggle of gays from attending White Party 2016 in Palm Springs this past weekend. I read somewhere there was an attendance of 30,000 homos spreading themselves thin (literally) and doing a balancing act to try and hit up as many of the seven events […]
I could not help but notice a silly strain of a trend that’s latching itself into the sporty fashion sense of my fellow fagged ones and trying to spread itself throughout West Hollywood muscle queens and beyond. Numerous times, I have spied with my good eye a small bunch of guys promenading aloofly up […]
Madonna has been snubbed for a Grammy this year. No newsflash there. It’s not even upsetting at this point. She’s never been much of a Grammy darling. The woman just came up on a 30-year milestone in the music biz and she gets no kind of respect or recognition from the music biz. 30 years, […]
I gotz to admit that I dragged my ass to the pop-up free Elton John concert that took place today on the parking lot of the “historically significant” Tower Records building on the Rock-N-Roll side of Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. I told myself I was there mostly as a reporter, because this event is an ideal item for The City page of the next issue of The Fight Magazine where I contribute.
I’m a fan of his music, don’t get me wrong, and I know that he gives back to the community with his Elton John AIDS Foundation, and he’s a legend and a husband and father and whatnot, but Sir Elton John the shit-talkin’ crab ass, I can do without. I’m talking about all the mad smack he’s shot at other people in the music biz–and by other people, I’m mostly concerned about the wretched things he’s said about my homegirl Madonna over the many years.
I know, I know, I read somewhere that he and Madonna buried the hatchet. He approached her at a restaurant recently, apologized for being a wretch and he bought her dinner, or so the story goes. Not that he needs it, but his peace offering made headlines during a time when he’s pushing a new album and he’s out on tour to back it up. I’m happy he apologized to M, but that just means he’ll aim his venom to other umm…singers… like… Janet Jackson. I read he recently said that he’d rather see a drag queen show than watch Janet Lipsinc. It’s like, seriously? What did drag queens ever do to Sir Elton for him to go there?
Anyway, I braved the heat to get my photo of Sir Elton singing for my City page. I wore my black mesh Madonna Rebel Heart Tour tank top to let everyone know what gang I was in, which got me clocked and called out by one of my friends who spotted me in the crowd.
Getting my shot proved more challenging than I expected.
The street was packed with people. It was impossible to see over all the bobbing heads–not that there’s much to see at an Elton John concert, lets-be-for-real-here, but I wanted to get a picture of him. I thought I saw him standing on stage, so I aimed my zoom lens and started snapping away, only to realize the man was the umm…wrong size. There was that, and he was playing a guitar. Then I heard the distinguishable piano set and I knew I had the wrong guy.
Ugh! I couldn’t see him. I moved up Horn Avenue, off of Sunset Boulevard and wiggled my way towards the front of the side gate overlooking the Tower Records parking lot. People parted for me when they saw my professional camera, which I thought was funny.
And there he was. Facing me. Sitting behind a grand piano. Playing for free to a crowd of thousands.
According to reports, those of us present owed this live musical treat to the City of West Hollywood for all their support of Sir Elton during his annual Academy Awards viewing party at the Pacific Design Center on San Vicente Boulevard, which raises funds for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The event takes place every year on Oscar night.
I don’t have to, but I’ll admit it: there is no arguing with the happiness that I witnessed on the street today. The crowd was very mixed, with children and dogs and grandmothers enjoying the music. It’s not the frisky gay scene one would’ve experienced back in the dayz when Elton used to shop at this very Tower Records store, but I have to give up, his music made the people come together (evil grin). The crowd and their response to his classics were something to behold. The sound was on point. He did not miss a beat or flub a note. I was impressed. It made my rebel heart melt. OK, so the mood was contagious. I was happy to be there.
I got my photo. I got several shots of the crowd and as I much as I enjoyed listening to the sounds of my generation and the generation before me, I decided to cut out a little early, because I had an article to post.
It was on my drive home that my phone started blowing up. Turns out I left right before Lady Gaga came on to do a duet of “Don’t Let the Sun Come Down on Me,” which is my favorite Elton John song (the one with George Michael, of course)–again, I’m not the biggest Gaga fan, but I wish I had been there to witness that.
It was an amazing show. People will be talking about this for at least another day. But you know what the very best part about this concert is? We got the Tower Records concert experience for possibly the very last time. I believe the building is scheduled to be demolished for retail in the bottom and condos on top, on account of this is still West Hollywood, like hello.
Elton John has a new album called “Wonderful Crazy Nights.” In all honesty, I probably won’t buy it, but maybe you should. I’m sure it’s good.
A source tells me the Tower Records building is not being demolished. It has a new 15-year lease with Gibson Guitars. Not sure if they’ll keep the Tower Records logo on the building, but at least it has a lifeline for another 15 years. Thank you Jerome Cleary.
Here’s a Throwback Thursday / Flashback Friday to the time I graced the cover of a The Fight Magazine exactly 5 years ago this month.
Yep, I was on the cover of issue #01. In that first issue, I wrote about being sober back when I had a whole four years of continuous sobriety.
Now here we are, The Fight Mag is at a five-year milestone, and I recently celebrated 9 years sober, which makes one look back in complete wonderment. Seriously, where does the time go? How did we get here so damn fast?
I know better than to ever say never, but the odds were stacked against me and no one believed I would stay sober in the beginning. At least that’s what I was told by those who knew me in early recovery. I ran around with two guys who were my trudging buddies back when I was on newcomer status–Brad and Orlando (aka La Flaka), who were both about a year ahead of me in sober numbers. I was definitely the weakest link where spiritual principles were concerned, and I was most likely to end up eating a dirty shit cake before I ever reached year one.
La Flaka was the first to relapse, which really ruined any ideas I may’ve had about being able to drink without getting high. The bitch didn’t have a drinking problem, so he took a drink and ended up getting high. The PNP ended when he got busted with a DUI while he was driving to, or from his dealer’s house, which sort of sealed the deal that drinking was not an option for me if I wanted to lay off of the meth, even though drinking was not necessarily a big problem for me either.
Then Brad relapsed and that’s when the shit became real for me, because Brad was the sensible one with his pretty big blue eyes. I always thought of him as an example of sobriety who worked a solid sober program, but alas, the bitch had a weakness for them Latino boys who got him into nothing but trouble. Relations with a Latino boy went south and I found myself fishing him out of a bathhouse after a bumpy three-night run. Those Latino boys took him out again and again during these past nine years, but I hear he is back on the sober wagon and I’m rooting for him and hoping he sticks around this time.
Both of them “dropped the baton,” which was our cute way of referring to a relapse.
I know time is not a tool to stay sober; I’ve seen people with a ton of time take that first bump or drink, but you best believe I held on to my baton for dear life. My sober days turned into sober years. I never forgot something that La Flaka said to me one night when we were sharing/comparing our war/drug stories. He said he could not believe that out of the three of us, I’m the one who stayed sober continuously. He couldn’t believe I refused to let go of the damn baton. He said he wanted to snatch it from me. I didn’t think it was fair. His assessment was that I was the meanest and most arrogant (his exact words were, “Eres mendiga!”).
What La Flaka failed to understand was that ego and resentment and a desperate desire to make a point is what kept me sober those first couple of years. My ego was so bad, that I was afraid if I went out, my pride would never let me back in. I didn’t want my ego to take me out and keep me out. My reasons for staying sober have evolved and are way different today. Writing about being sober all these years has helped, but I definitely did NOT do it the easier, softer way. It took what it took. For whatever reasons, I stayed.
And speaking of busted egos: I remember I absolutely hated my photo on the cover of The Fight when it first came out. I don’t know…there was something about the darkness and the shadows over my face and the fact that I look like I got into a nasty chola claw fight–all bruised up with a cut lip, and then writing about being sober, which didn’t sit well with me back then. A fierce-looking boxer facing head-on, all badass in the context “The Fight Magazine – a Queer Revolution,” is hot as all hell, but a beaten bitch talking about recovery—not so much. I wanted the shit to look bright and happy and pretty because I was selling happy, joy and freedom from drugs and alcohol. Or so were my expectations when the mag hit the streets. I had no kind of gratitude. I spun over it for months and could not get past my picture to look at the big picture: They put me on their first cover. And they let me share my sober story. How many LGBT magazine take that sort of risk–especially on their debut issue? I didn’t see that then, but it’s all crystal clear to me now.
The odds were stacked against The Fight magazine as well, when it first hit the streets five years ago. It was not looking so hot for the future of print media back then. The Advocate had gone digital and Frontiers Media LLC (I’m talkin’ about the real Frontiers magazine– not to be confused with the current mess of the New Frontiers Media Holding LLC) was struggling, and on the verge of a bankruptcy (New Frontiers Media Holding distanced themselves from Frontiers Media LLC when it came to paying their writers –myself included — who helped keep the magazine afloat while the bankruptcy settled, but they have no qualms about dipping into the vaults to take credit for what Frontiers Media did 20 years ago on a throwback Thursday–but let’s not go there … different blog for a different day). Yet The Fight Magazine has held its own and managed to flourish these past five years. They managed to not only give real people in the community a voice that stretches past the city of West Hollywood, but the magazine has been able to maintain its luster. It continues to be thick and bright and beautiful and stand on its own as a monthly queer publication. And they maintained their loyalty to the recovering gay community. They don’t have to, but other gay sober men have graced the cover of this publication and shared their stories of recovery since I first did it five years ago.
They told me to give it a few years and I’ll feel differently about that picture on the cover. And shit, shit, SHIT, they were right. I look back at that picture of me five years younger and I can’t believe it’s me. It’s perfect. What was I thinking?
Esthetics aside, I’m elated and grateful and proud to be a part of The Fight Magazine as they enter their 5th year of publishing. It’s been a learning experience. It’s been fun. It’s taken me out of my comfort zone and it has challenged me to write in a way I didn’t think I was capable this past many years.