Big thanks to my pal, Mad Diva T, for filling in for me while I was on the great big little isle of Manhattan.
I was there on doing "corporate theatre" business. Basically, I had to perform and then give a workshop to a certain on-line media network's sales associates. Everything went smoothly for the most part with the exception of a few botched called times (they were too early)
I love to visit NYC. I have considered moving there more than once but I have just never really had the hard drive to make it happen. Some of my friends are doing great and on their way to being legitimate Broadway stars while I churn away my comedy shows in the Windy City. SHAMELESS PLUG: Boojie Nights starts at 8 pm next Wednesday at the Improv Olympic, 3541 N Clark Street, tickets are $8.
This particular trip to New York was short and mostly business so I couldn't visit as many of my friends as I would have liked. I did, however, get to see two of my favorite New Yorkers. One is my best friend Patchy and the other is my college chum Jen.
I arrived at LaGuardia on Sunday. My accommodations were at the Waldorf-Astoria, an over-rated but historical hotel. I avoided all things related to Gay pride in Chicago but Patchy and I ended up in the middle of post NY Pride on Sunday (that's what we get for going into the village). It was such a treat for me to see so many black gay men. I saw more black gay men Sunday night than I have seen collectively my entire life. The whole experience was empowering for me.
Patchy (a gay Jew that lives in Brooklyn Heights) and I walked around Manhattan until 1 or 2 in the morning. We talked and caught up. He went into a bunch of bullshit on why he questions my moving in with Steve so soon (this conversation deserves it's own entry so stay tuned). We also took time to see a portion of the AIDS Memorial Quilt displayed at Saks 5th Avenue. The display includes the very first panel (which was dedicated to Marvin Feldman).
My college chum Jen and I hung out on Monday night. I enjoyed her so much. She and I went for sushi in Hell's Kitchen, excuse me, Clinton (whatever). The sushi was delicious and cheap and it was the very first time that I was not surrounded by tourists and out of towners. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I was a visitor myself but I always think of myself as a world citizen. I am at home nearly everywhere. And if I have been to a city more than once or twice...Forget about it. We were later joined by her great partner Mike. Mike and Jen are both behind-the-scenes theatre folk. They work more than any actors I know but no one in the public will ever know their names. They are top notch friends too. Even though I was taking antibiotics for my skin infection, I still had a bit of sake and one beer with Mike and Jen. They are supremely good people.
My last day in New York was a long one. My call was at 7:30 am and because of a last minute scheduling decision, my colleagues and I were sitting around for nearly two hours before we went on....Boo! Jeer! Hiss! The afternoon consisted of our respective workshops that we taught and those went fine but we finished at 5 pm and had to rush out of Mid-town to LaGuardia.
Upon arrival at LaGuardia, we found out that our flight was delayed. No one likes delays but this one seemed painfully long. In reality we were delayed by 2 1/2 hours but it seemed like an eternity.
I finally arrived late last night, safe and sound with my man. Steve and I have been living together officially for two weeks now but my trip just goes to show you that home is where the heart is. I missed him so much and I was glad to see him when I returned to Chicago.
I'm back!!! Our friend is traveling the country...not much going on in my world...I moved this weekend, first official place with my husband that is OURS!!! Its cozy and the decorating is coming along nicely. We did get to keep our dog. She's a big girl and I was afraid that the complex wouldn't "like" her. She's a sweetie and a baby...It was hotter than hot to be moving. I nearly melted away..which probably wouldn't hurt, since I ain't no little girl.
I read an article which I WON"T post it was about a boy that molested 2 girls and "raped" a dog (unfortunately the dog died). I couldn't even read the whole thing. It was sad and very sick. I know his parents should be shamed. Whether the whole world knows that you are sick in the head your parents should, no questions asked. How many times have you been upset, your mom calls and you "try to act happy" b/c you don't want to tell her what's wrong. Lo' and behold she hears it in your voice and says "what's wrong" ....Momma's KNOW everything...they are naturally NOSEY...where were his parents?? Anyway I digress on that...it was just toooooo much.
A little too much excitement happening around here these days. First there is the whole co-habitational bliss that I am trying to find with Steve. Believe it or not, that part is easy. As each day goes by, I am less and less afraid that he is going to open his eyes one morning and say, "Oh my god! Who are you? Get the hell out of here!" This weekend I'm giving my sweetie a break. I am transferring all of my neurosis from him to the origins of it all, my mother.
Now, I want to preface this by saying that my mother was a teenager when I was born but she kept me and ended up sending three kids off to college and she never left us despite the men that did the same to her. You see, I have a need to explain because of my guilt. Which is the support beam of my neurosis. And the foundation of the same neurosis is a fear of abandonment.
At my invitation,Mom is coming to spend the weekend with my partner and I. This is despite the fact that we have to stay in a hotel when we come to Peoria. None the less, she will be here for two days and I am wired about it. I am second guessing everything I do. Will she like this? Should I change that? Should I put that elsewhere?
I am calming down now. I don't really need my mother's approval anymore. Not really...Ultimately, this is our place. We love it. We love each other. That's more than enough.
I've never been one for facialhair. It looks pretty goodon some men but it has never really done much for me. I have also been beard challenged most of my adult life. I was a smooth-faced looking kid until my late 20s. I was 28 before I started shaving regularly. I hated it. Shaving hurt and burned and I have unusually coarse and curly hair. I dabbled in a few face-dos in the past. Only a year or two ago, I sported the ever popular Goatee. I eventually went back to my clean shaven look after I saw a picture of me in it.
Recently, I have had some major skin issues. Because of a skin infection I am forbidden to shave. I have already gone 10 days or so without shaving and I am started to not itch as much. I can't say that I totally like the beard but it is growing on me. **GROAN** Sorry, I couldn't resist.
You ever have one of those days when you just can't win? Today is one of those days for me.
I moved yesterday. I moved in with Steve. I'm sorry I didn't bring this up earlier but I wasn't sure it was going to happen. I thought for sure I would chicken out. I was never one for domesticity. And I wore my "perpetually single" status as an honor. I didn't chicken out. Anyway, I moved into the house with the garden and the two dogs. And we lived happily ever after.
Today is the first day of happily ever after and it has sucked. And it is not yet 10 am.
Yesterday I took a nap in an awkward position and developed a slight crick in my neck. This morning that crick became an annoying bother. In addition to the crick, I also had "the creep."
Riley, is our black and white Springer-Spaniel mix dog that insists on sleeping in our bed. He picks a spot and he is down for the count. He won't move.
Last night, Riley chose to sleep on my side of the bed, in a very inconvenient spot. I couldn't extend my legs all the way or I would hit a solid mass of canine. So, I have the crick in my neck, the creep at my feet, and Steve is trying to spoon me. Calgon, take me away!
Now, I have also been suffering from skin problems lately. I have eczema on my left ear and the most sever case of folliculitis in my beard area that I have ever had.
Steve got up and went to Home Depot. He started a new lawn project and needed supplies. I was glad that he would be gone. I figured I could get up, have a cup of tea, and be in a more pleasant mood when he returned. It didn't happen like that. I got up and had that tea but my mood didn't lighten. When Steve returned with several bags of sand and gravel, I offered to help him remove them from the car. He told me that I didn't have to but I insisted. **BAD CHOICE** I started carrying those filthy and difficult to handle plastic bags one by one when I realized that we had a wheelbarrow. So, I got the wheelbarrow and put in nearly every bag. Steve told me that it would be heavy. I sneered at him. He couldn't possibly know of the amount of strength just waiting to explode from my underutilized arm and shoulder muscles. You know where this is going. That wheelbarrow was heavy. I wouldn't be defeated though. I pushed that motherfucker like there was a blow job waiting at the end of the garden trail. I had trouble controlling the great mass and I scraped my hand (several times) on the stucco garage. But I did it. I apologized to Steve for being a crank and then I retired to write this blog entry.
Technically, I retired to write an earlier entry. An entry which I lost accidentally and had to re-create again. So, this is happily ever after?
I've been in transition for the past few weeks. Steve and I have gotten very serious and I have been spending all my time with him. I TiVod the Tony Awards and have only gotten around to watching them today.
I'll spare you the play by play, especially since the program was broadcast two weeks ago. I can tell you that thought overall the show was not very good. It had a great cast, great moments, great ideas but it just didn't do it for me, kind of like Sweet Charity with Christina Applegate.
I do have to mention that the most surreal moment of the night, that I want to view over and over, is the duet between Hugh Jackman and Aretha Franklin. First, there is Aretha's wig and costume that I knew would not disappoint. They were as terrible as everything she has ever worn. A true diva, with a voice that still makes my jaw drop , she takes her time getting onstage and eases through her verse. She sings "Somewhere" as more uptown jazz hero than Broadway'sWest Side Story.
Then there is Hugh. An Aussie with so much talent that he has to play superhero and Broadway legend simultaneously. Jackman's voice is not my type. He is a little too milky and straight for me but he is a good performer. He tried to make this duet between the tall thin middle aged white guy and the plus sized black senior citizen from Detroit work. At one point he reached for her hand during the lyrics, "hold my hand and I'll take you there..." But he forgot the big rule about performing a duet with a diva. You don't control anything. She does what she wants, when she wants to. He grabbed his hand but when she was ready. I noticed that she coughed during a break in the singing but Hugh went forward and she came back when she could.
Finally, I loved at the end of the number when Jackman does some vocal dynamics after Aretha had just laid out a series of smooth riffs. Not to be outdone, Aretha kept on bopping. This is when the diva in Jackman popped out, he held the note longer than the Queen of Soul. Well, smell her.
Today was my last day at the west side elementary school where I taught Improv for the last two weeks. All I can say is that in spite of being teased about my sexual orientation, they were a pretty good group of students.
Mary, my teaching partner, and I headed to the west side for an all school assembly this morning. We were asked if we would demonstrate the techniques using some of the best students. We chose ten students from one class. They performed a game called "bead on a string" or "string of pearls." They did an excellent job (as I knew they would).
The best part of the assembly had to be the excitement surrounding it. Remember all school assemblies? Remember everyone going to the auditorium and all the grades mixing?
They showed a video highlight of the year that could be used as a recruitment tool for teachers. It showed different events from the fall through the spring. There were many field trips, school plays, special guests, and lots of dancing.
The big event of the day (after the improv, of course) was the announcement of the two top scorers in math and reading on the Iowa Standardized tests. There was one math winner and one reading winner. The winners chose between three prizes: A 10-speed bike, a personal DVD player, or an X-Box. Both winners chose the X-Box and became extremely popular even though was basically the last regular day of school.
Today was a day off. I had this date on hold for a teaching residency at a west side elementary school. They didn't need us today so I got to sleep late. The best part about sleeping late is when the dogs hop in bed with me. Riley, a springer spaniel mix, is the first to jump out and lounge in the spot that Steve occupied before he tore off to work.
A day off starts with a leisurely cup of black tea with cream and sugar. I was given the task of watering the lawn today. Steve asked me to water each section for about an hour each. I faithfully executed my duties as sprinkler wench for most of the afternoon.
During the moments when I wasn't splashing in the water, I did some work trying to find information. I wanted to know how to properly trim a sage bush. I need to quickly learn the proper techniques of using a pasta machine so that I can knead and cut the dough that one of our guests made for us over the weekend.
I also did some garden maintenance. I plucked dead flowers off their stems in order to produce more flowers form the plants. I planted some pepper plants in pots. One large pot is in the garden and a smaller one is on the deck situated in a cute red tube with an ivy and a slate garden that I built. Life is good.
Steve and I have been testing our "couple powers" recently. Now that we have had our official outing as a serious duo there are still social obligations. Over the weekend, we entertained two other gay couples. One, friends of Steve's before we met, came over on Saturday. The other couple, neighbors across the alley, stopped by on Sunday.
Saturday night was unplanned. I worked Saturday afternoon in the hot sun providing entertainment and childhood literacy advice at the printers' Row Book Fair. I was fried and fizzled after the event but Steve phoned to say that friend's had dropped by. When I arrived, they were well into an afternoon of libations and wit. It took a while but I was able to catch up in only a few minutes.
After maybe an hour or so, we realized that Steve and I had only bought enough dinner items for two. We had to have a fishes and loaves miracle and somehow we did. We had more than enough bites and I made one of my newest summer cocktail treats.
Sunday was a planned event. The neighbors had us over a couple of weeks back and we wanted to return the favor. It was a lot of fun and most of the dinner came from our vegetable and herb garden. I again took the opportunity to create festive summer cocktails that were enjoyed by all.
For the last week, I have been in residency at a West Side elementary school. My partner Mary and I are teaching improv to K-8 grades. These are some hard kids, mostly black and latino. Most come from some fucked up homes and many have learning disabilities. Ultimately, they are just children that were born into a tough situation.
Last Thursday, as the 7th and 8th gradeers left the library that we use as a makeshift studio, one of the 7th grade boys asked me if I was gay. I looked at him with a cold stare and answered, "yes." His eyes grew twice as large and he started laughing and pointing at me. Now, I find it dificult to allow a child to make me feel bad. They really don't have much power so I could care less what they think of me. I just brushed off as a curious and obnoxious pre-teen.
Tuesday, when we returned to the school, the boy asked me if I remembered what I had said last week. I lied, "no." He laughed and reminded me that I was gay. He whispered and giggledhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif the whole class with his friends (I assumed about me). The next day, one of the teachers asked me if he was being a nuisance and would I like him removed. He was but I didn't want to kick him out.
We played an improv game in which the students hold an imaginary box. They describe the box and the contents of it. When I got around to "Gay Curious" he said that his box contained muscular action men and not girly men that had tea parties. If I could have only taken him to the gym so that he could he see all the gay muscle boys. Or even better, I could have directed him over to Rod so he can see beautiful beefy black men. I asked him to repeat what he said. He did. I could have snapped his little neck in two right then but I held my composure. One of the teachers swooped in and took him out.
I moved on with the other students and the box excercise. One of the girls described her box as a pretty blue. I asked her to be specific. I asked if it were periwinkle, cornblue, or Tiffany. None of the students knew what blue was so I explained that it was a high end jewelry and gift store. As I explained, one of the other boys made a comment like, "is that where you bought your shirt?" That was the last straw. It is one thing to question my manhood but I will not stand for anyone to criticize my outfit. I looked that boy in the eye and told him not make side comments about me. If he had anything to say, I continued, he needed to say it to my face. I told them that that went for all of them. I told them that cowards snigger in the dark and men and women do things in the open. There was a hush in the room. A couple of the girls, "ooh"ed but they all now knew that Mr. Lilly don't play.
At the end of the session, Gay Curious Boy came back to apologize (because he teacher made him). "I'm sorry Mr. Lilly," he said, "for making fun of your sexual orientation." Life is fucking hysterical.
I have been posting a lot of links to different stories and whatnot that I have found in my own personal cruise of the information highway. I would like to devout some space to talk about my world.
It is not easy for me to write about my personal story. No one will accuse me of being reserved but I am fairly private and discretion is important to me. That being said, I am going to drop the dish on Pip today.
First off, I am preparing to do another Straight & Nappy . We have joined together with another black comedy duo named KevINda. There will be more news on that later but that is a very important career development.
I have a new boyfriend and it is going along very well. I have known him since last fall but I have only gotten serious with him this past spring. He has already met my family and they love him. He has met some of my friends and they love him. He is a good man and we both recently gave up our online dating profiles (manhunt, manjam, a4a, etc.). He's got my back and I've got his. I do believe that this love.
I will write more over the next few days but this is a start.
Despite recent rumours and obvious odd behavior by our favorite TV comedian, Dave Chappelle's DVD for The David Chappelle Show are outselling all others, including The Aviator. Take that Leo. Come back soon Dave.