Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Catchin' Up...


It's been some time. I think since Obama won or some garbage.

It's so awkward to come back to the blogosphere after being AWOL for so, so long. It's like running into a a good friend who you just haven't talked to out of sheer laziness/asshole-ish aloofness and all you can do is exchange pleasantries and talk about how brutal this winter is going to presumably be.

I'm sorry for that. Been a little bit busy. Doing what, exactly?

Oh this and that. That and this. Giggin'... Hallowe'en-in'... goin'-through-a-break-up-in'... and lastly, protestin'... yes, protestin'...

I'll elaborate:

Giggin': Well, it finally happened. I'm actually getting road work as a comic now. It's exactly as different-yet-as-similar as I'd always expected it to be. Some of it good: I've had surprisingly delightful experiences in semi-urban Ontarian centres like Kitchener and London... Some of them very bad: I played a gig last Thursday at George Brown college right here in Toronto for an audience that was 90% East Indian (Jamaica and Trinidad, at least, were audibly "in da house") which was so beyond horrific that news of that Wal-Mart employee that was trampled to death by a discounted-XBox-hungry mob seemed downright humane by comparison. OOH-WEE... if every I needed a reminder that comedy is indeed hard, that was it. I actually muttered "I'm still getting paid for this either way" for the first time. Anyballs... it was pretty awesome.

Hallowe'enin': I think it's been customary since Aught'5 that I post a comprehensive recap of my Hallowe'en... despite the fact that it was well-over a month ago, I feel the need to commit it to the annals of my blog (yes... annals...)

I was bouncing around a lot of costume options...

The forerunners were Rio from Jem & The Holograms (pending someone else went as gem... or else I'd just look like a tranny in a purple wig)... or Elaine Stritch... specifically, Elaine Stritch from her one woman show, "Elaine Stritch: Live At Liberty... it would have been sooo super easy... Flowing blouse, meemaw wig, cheap pearls, black tights, heels, a stool, and some long winded stories about my days treadin' the boards at the Schubert theatre...

After substantial rumination, I ultimately decided that going as Elaine Stritch was a.) thoroughly random and b.) devastatingly unsexy... and if Hallowe'en is about one thing, it's about being sexy... so I racked my brain, yet nothing... then, in a brainstorming session with Yerxa - who, incidentally was torn between Meryl Streep from "Mamma Mia" and Liza Minnelli... again, sexiness won out and Liza it was... - jogged my imagination when he asked me "well... have there been any newsmakers recently?"... which is funny in itself because a few years ago we were thinking about theming our costumes out of NEWSMAKERS - and going as Elizabeth Smart and Jennifer Willbanks (the runway bride with crazy eyes), but that ultimately proved futile... I'm not making sense/being boring - I'll get to the point...

So in a last minute stroke of creativity I decided to version a costume out of the gay cannibal - Anthony Morley, the disgraced former "Mr. Gay UK" in its inaugural year (1993) who was recently convicted of killing and eating his former lover - that a surprisingly and encouragingly large amount of people got. Particularly these two dudes dressed as Latter Day Saint's church elders who I almost had a threeway with, but that's a story for another time...

The costume was exorbitantly expensive to make. On the plus side, I am fucking superstar at iron-ing on letters onto delicate fabrics. If anyone wants some Laverne &/or Shirley-esque monogramed sweaters, I'm your man.

Moving on...

Goin'-through-a-break-up-in': I won't say too much about this, because I - much like the late Princess Diana - am famously guarded about my private life. But yes, I went through a bit of a break-up this autumn. I'll surmise it's when's, what's and how's like this: Remember that episode arc in season 5 of "Sex & The City" when Carrie meets Jack Berger? And things are going ridiculously well? And then she's dumped via a post-it? And then she sees his friends out at a club, one of them makes a sweeping statement implying that they had insight into Carrie & Berger's relationship that Carrie didn't have, then Carrie freaks out on the friends?

Yeah. Same thing happened to me. Only no post-it. Yeah. Anyballs - that's the extent of what I'll say about that.

Protestin': First thing's first: What is Prop 8? Proposition 8 - or, rather, Propisition H8 as it's been predictably coined in this age of Internet shorthand/functional illiteracy - is and was a proposition on California's latest ballot that, if passed would amend the California state constitution to prohibit gays, lesbians and everything in between from marrying. It would staunchly define marriage as between a man and a woman - no if's, and's and/or but's. Leading up to the vote, millions upon millions of dollars was raised to drum up pro-Prop 8 propaganda (say that three times fast, jeez louise...) Typical Evangelical double-speak saying that this was about "protecting marriage" and terrifying people into voting for it. Regretably, Propisition 8 passed by a slim margin.

This has spurred the biggest civil rights 'debate' of our time (and I'm talking about my generation in particular... so chill the fuck out people who lived through segregation) - if I had to try my hand at succinctly summing up this debate, this is what I understand it to be:

On the far right side, you have deeply religious, illogical people who are absolutely "no-way, no-how" and absolutely refuse to see homosexuality as anything less than a demonic disease that they're terrified would thoroughly permeate their beings if allowed some sort of constitutional recognition or protection.

On the centre-right you have median religious people who, in their lighter moments, tolerate homosexuality and won't lose sleep if they happen to catch 5 minutes of the odd rerun of Will & Grace, but still very much believe it to be somewhat of a perverse 'lifestyle choice' and thereby not worthy of constitutional recognition or protection. These people think that a vote for Prop 8 doesn't make them a bigot, it just makes them traditional.

On the centre-left, you have people who are all "love is love" and, although it's not my cup their cup of tea, don't believe it's their business to tell someone who they can and cannot love and thoroughly believe that the Bruce Cockburn song "Lovers In A Dangerous Time" rings especially true today. These people are adorable.

Then, on the far-left you have people who are absolutely disgusted, saddened and furious that we're still going through this systematic oppression of people questioning our existence and culture as being a choice in the name of "The Bible" and are simply going to do something about it.

Queue the protests - held globally - including one right here in Toronto in front of the US Consulate that I braved perfectly awful weather for (for realz: it was the thermal equivalent of a dead elderly woman's vagina)...

That's me with my fellow civil rights warriors, Heid and Anth.

I know that it's kind of redundant to be protesting this on Canadian soil - as we have gay marriage and strict hate crime/speech laws in place here - but the reality is that as Canadians, we take more cultural queues from the US than we generate on our own, so I was there to join the impact in changing the attitude that being gay is a choice - it is an irrefutable biological predisposition.

And also... because I made some really hilarious signs...

The first:

It garned much more agreement than disagreement, let me tell ya.

The Mormon church mobilized its membership and, in a bona fide recession, raised over 20 million dollars to pass a proposition that defines marriage as being between 1 man and 1 woman - which is a very different tune than they were whistling a short while ago. *cough-POLYGAMY-cough*.

Since then, they've undergone understandable scrutiny - and they just can't possibly imagine why. It's an amazing case of the aggressor playing the victim. Absolutely amazing. They argue that they were expressing their religious freedoms... no, you formed a crazed mob with a political agenda in the name of religion. Which is pretty fucked up. You know - I really don't have a problem with many religious freaks... like the Amish. I fucking love the Amish, and you know why? Because they may be fucking freaks, but they mind their own fucking business. They are not out trying to force anyone to go the way of their buggy (however, given the recent financial and ecological crises and the fact that bonnet's are due for a couture comeback any day now, they just might be onto something)... The Mormon's are crying 'victim' - reporting that white powder has been anonymously sent to several of their churches as a scare tactic. Again - given your recent scheming, what possible reason do we have to not believe that y'all aren't doing it to y'all's selves to add to y'all's already heaping pile of propaganda?

Anyballs - for this reason, some of my signage could have been considered a little anti-Mormon...

Yeah. I don't have a specific hate on for Donny and/or Marie - in fact, I was quite concerned when she took a tumble on Dancing With The Stars last season - but they're kinda the poster children for the Mormon church. So que sera sera.

I'll half-admit that this one might have been a little heavy-handed...

Meh. Whatcha gonna do.

Of course this one pertains to the threat that Stephen "The Least Talented One" Baldwin's threat that if Obama won, he'd move to Canada...

... A claim he quickly rebuffed a few days after I was seen brandishing this sign at the protest. Coincidence. Most indefinitely NOT. You're welcome Canada.

Sidebar: Back when I was working my first pseudo-intern-bullshit-entertainment-industry job for some kooky lady that did publicity on film sets, we were working on a balls awful direct-to-DVD sci-fi movie called Earth Storm - and it starred none other than Stephen Baldwin. And I was in charge of shooting the interviews for the DVD extras. So I have sat face to face with the man for upwards to and including 45 minutes. "Douchebag" does not being to describe him. Actually - I take that back. I think he could have been a lot worse. Anyballs - I had to do extensive research on him beforehand and found out that A.) He was recently "born again" and B.) Not at all happy to discuss some of his 'spicier' film work i.e. "Threesome" and "Bio-Dome"... so BITCH YOU KNOW I BROUGHT IT UP... and no, he was not happy. But he KNEW it was a deliberate move to piss him off... and looked at me like "You just had to go there"... it was pretty amazing.

And a short week later I called the Toronto Film Festival head office and used his name to finagle myself tickets to the closing night gala. BOOM! YA BURT, STEPHEN BALDWIN, YA BURNT!


This last poster is kind of random, but Anthony - who's thoroughly obsessed with the show 227 - insisted on me making some 227-themed protest fare, so here's what we came up with:

So yeah. Protesting can be fun!

But on a serious note - I've been following this 'debate' very closely and intensely... I patronizingly air-quote 'debate' because I think it's ridiculous that this is even a fucking discussion... the fact that the validity of someone's existence as a citizen of this world is a "DEBATE" is fucking BONKERS...

Anyway, in trying to make some sense out of it - I've come across to fantastic articles that really drum home some fantastic points about how the other side works...

The first one is an interview with gay Catholic author Richard Rodriguez entitled "Why churches fear gay marriage". It's a fucking magnificent read and brought up so many points that I would have never considered.

In it, he really explores the dichotomy of being A.) gay and Catholic and B.) gay and of a traditionally religious ethnic minority - and reconciling all of that. He talks about how it's important to not use blasphemy as a weapon - which I reluctantly understand... but it's so fun to!!! Whatevs.

But the most provocative point he makes is this:

"Q: You said recently the real issue behind the anti-gay marriage movement is the crisis in the family. What do you mean?

A: American families are under a great deal of stress. The divorce rate isn't declining, it's increasing. And the majority of American women are now living alone. We are raising children in America without fathers. I think of Michael Phelps at the Olympics with his mother in the stands. His father was completely absent. He was negligible; no one refers to him, no one noticed his absence.

The possibility that a whole new generation of American males is being raised by women without men is very challenging for the churches. I think they want to reassert some sort of male authority over the order of things. I think the pro-Proposition 8 movement was really galvanized by an insecurity that churches are feeling now with the rise of women.

Monotheistic religions feel threatened by the rise of feminism and the insistence, in many communities, that women take a bigger role in the church. At the same time that women are claiming more responsibility for their religious life, they are also moving out of traditional roles as wife and mother. This is why abortion is so threatening to many religious people -- it represents some rejection of the traditional role of mother.

In such a world, we need to identify the relationship between feminism and homosexuality. These movements began, in some sense, to achieve visibility alongside one another. I know a lot of black churches take offense when gay activists say that the gay movement is somehow analogous to the black civil rights movement. And while there is some relationship between the persecution of gays and the anti-miscegenation laws in the United States, I think the true analogy is to the women's movement. What we represent as gays in America is an alternative to the traditional male-structured society. The possibility that we can form ourselves sexually -- even form our sense of what a sex is -- sets us apart from the traditional roles we were given by our fathers."
Yeah. I think that's fucking brilliant. I think that heterosexual male insecurity over the fact that they just might not be able to institutionalize subordination of anyone who's not them makes so much sense it almost actually blows my mind. But really - that entire interview is so chock-full of nuggets, I'd highly recommend you read it in its entirety.

Article number 2: Op-Ed piece by one Charles M. Blow (I'll bet he is), about the exorbitant amount of black people who voted for Prop 8, the reasoning behind that, and proposed resolutions to it.

In the article, he says a lot of the accountability lies with black women (I'd be damned if it was any of the sistas that I know... but apparently, it's a big deal).

The money quote by estimation:

"First, comparing the struggles of legalizing interracial marriage with those to legalize gay marriage is a bad idea. Many black women do not seem to be big fans of interracial marriage either. They’re the least likely of all groups to intermarry, and many don’t look kindly on the black men who intermarry at nearly three times the rate that they do, according to a 2005 study of black intermarriage rates in the Wisconsin Law Review. Wrong reference. Don’t even go there.

Second, don’t debate the Bible. You can’t win. Religious faith is not defined by logic, it defies it. Instead, decouple the legal right from the religious rite, and emphasize the idea of acceptance without endorsement."
So true. So wise.

I guess I found these articles so interesting because I'm so staunchly secular, and can't even reason how this mythology fits into the equation, so it was helpful to read those and get some perspective.

But ultimately, the solution to all of this is going to be quite simple: 87% of people in my generation voted against Prop 8. It's a matter of the older people who were for Prop 8 dying. Plain and simple. And they are, so that's comforting.

Anyballs - so that kinda catches us up to snuff, I suppose.

Guess what's upon us?!

Thaaat's right - ONE WEEK TODAY!!!


Our 10th Annivesary Spectacular!!!

And in honour of that...

Here's the mix... that I play before the show... for your cardio-doing/pre-drinking pleasure...

Track listing:

Soul Avengerz feat. Zena Chavez - Move (Original)
Shontelle - T-Shirt (Josh Harris Mix)
Mariah Carey - I'm That Chick (Craig C. Mix)
Kanye West - Love Lockdown (Chew Fu Small Room Mix)
Flo Rida - In The Ayer (Jason Nevins Mix)
David Archuleta - Crush (Mike Rizzo Global Mix)
Christina Aguilera - Keeps Gettin' Better (Jody Den Broeder Mix)
The Saturdays - Up (Wideboys Mix)
The Veronicas - Untouched (Eddie Amador Mix)
Madonna - Miles Away (Morgan Page Mix)
Solange - Sandcastle Disco (Freemasons Mix)
Pussycat Dolls - I Hate This Part (Moto Blanco Mix)
Beyonce - Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) (RedTop Mix)
Lady GaGa - Poker Face (Glam As You Mix)
Britney Spears - Womanizer (Digital Dog Mix)

Download/Listen to it HERE!

So that's that. So good to be back.

Obligatorily yours,

--- Aj