Changing The World One Pansy At A Time!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Curtain Up

While perusing my local newsstand today I was struck by the cover of the theatre newspaper BACKSTAGE; the Bible for actors in New York. I recalled trying to be one of those actors & barely having enough left over from my tip money to purchase the paper. I only noticed this copy because the startling American theatre legend, MARIAN SELDES was staring back at me from the cover.

The Tony Award winning actress is a national treasure, if not a household name. And there isn’t a soul working in the theatre or on its periphery as I did, who does not have a Marian Story. Miss Seldes is always so wonderfully dramatic that she makes MARGO CHANNING look like a chorus girl. It was said of Miss Channing (the character made famous by Bette Davis in the film, All About Eve) that “Margo compensates for underplaying onstage by overplaying real life!” But the very thing about Miss Seldes is she just…is! She is the same person off the stage as she is on it. The actress character that DIANE WEIST played (& won an Oscar doing do) in Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway is said to be based on Miss Seldes.

A friend of mine once told me of a time he was in a restaurant in New York and a famous producer was dining there as well. The producer was having an awful experience with a tryout of a sequel to a musical. Suddenly a very tall & regal woman in a cape (!!) swept into the dining room & thrust some sort of religious medal into the hands of the producer and exclaimed: “I’m praying for you!” And exited!...MARIAN!

Here’s my Marian story: After months of drama, it is decided that I will leave New York & will come to Los Angeles and join my then partner, Michael Jeter, who was working on a television series after great success in the theatre. I sold everything I had in New York. (which wasn’t much!) and I arrive at LAX not without some serious trepidation. All is made well as I exit the gate & see the smiling face of my beloved, waiting to pick me up. “Ah! Yes! This is why I came!” He is so happy I am here! The smile grows broader. I notice an older couple walking beside me. The gentleman is in a wheelchair, accompanied by a very striking tall woman. I keep walking. (In those pre 9/11 days you could meet your passenger directly at the gate) Michael is now almost jumping for joy! “Wow!” I think. “He is really so excited to see me!” “I definitely made the right decision!” Just as I am about to put down my bag & embrace Michael, the tall woman cuts in front of me; arms outstretched and declares: “MICHAEL, DARLING!” “Garson! It’s Michael! Can you believe it?” Well no Miss Seldes I actually cannot BELIEVE it. I have thought & dreamt of this exact moment for months & now you sweep in & I’m pushed to the side like an after-thought. Finally Michael remembers exactly what (whom) brought him to LAX and quietly says: “Charlie! may I introduce Marian Seldes & her husband, Garson Kanin!” “How do you dos” are exchanged all around. And of course I suddenly remember that Marian had married the actress Ruth Gordon’s widower, the famous screenwriter, GARSON KANIN, some months earlier. Kanin only wrote all of the famous screenplays for the films that teamed KATHERINE HEPBURN & SPENCER TRACY. I literally wanted to die. My big moment of triumphant arrival… dashed! When I sullenly complained to Michael moments later in the car; he said: “Seriously Charlie!” “Far greater talents than you or I have been UPSTAGED by MARIAN SELDES….you should think of it as an HONOR!” And trust me, I now do!


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Saturday, November 15, 2008

"This is Not Rosa Parks on The Bus"

Ohhh, my friends yes it is!! I promise I will eventually get back to gardening, landscaping, table top decorations & celebrities, but for the moment, Marriage Equality is all I got! “No More Mr. Nice Gay!” as a t-shirt I saw at a rally read.

The headline quote is from some Manhattan socialite in reaction to that dust-up a few years back when OPRAH WINFREY was pissed that HERMES in PARIS wouldn’t stay open late so she could buy a gift for TINA TURNER. Oprah felt the French were being racists & not everyone agreed.

Speaking of whom; where is OPRAH’s Statement on PROP 8? I know BARACK OBAMA gave that tepid little non-endorsement the week before the election, but where are all the great liberal minds of our generation? Where the hell is ROSIE O’DONNELL? I mean she has been legally married to her wife, Kelly, in every state that would allow it. She said last week that she would like to “have a beer with SARAH PALIN!” but CRICKETS regarding the passage of PROP 8.

Today, November 15th, there were hundreds of protests against PROP 8 in major cities & towns across the country. Sadly the fact that the state of CALIFORNIA is basically ABLAZE, will be the major story from the West, as it should be. But as the song used to say: “There’s Something Happening Here!”

The best take on today’s activities comes from THE ATLANTIC’S ANDREW SULLIVAN. He has been posting all day with stories from around the country, sent in by readers who have attended rallys & sent in their observations & photos. Herewith:

"Marriage means something," said one of the speakers. This speaker then told of the sudden death of his partner of thirty-four years. They had a trust; they had papers of all kinds; they had planned and prepared for every contingency - except for a lack of respect and regard for their 34 year commitment to each other. The funeral home insisted they could not cremate this man on the word of his partner of three plus decades; they needed an OK from a family member. No document, however legal, mattered on that loss and shock filled day after the unexpected death of this speaker's partner of 34 years - thirty-four years.
Think about that when you next hear that contracts and papers are enough and marriage isn't sacred or right for these people.
We are so often told by opponents of marriage equality that they do not oppose our right to have basic legal protections. What they do not understand, because they have never had to understand, is that without legal marriage, gay couples are always subject to the veto of family members who have more say over our spouses under the law than we do.

I remember a story told me during the AIDS epidemic. A man was visiting a friend dying in hospital. It was a grim scene, as it often was in those days. The next bed in the ward had a curtain drawn around it. And from behind that curtain, you could hear someone quietly singing. The man told his friend, "Well, at least that dude is keeping his spirits up, however sick he is." And the friend replied:

"Oh, that's not the patient singing. He died this morning. And his family came to collect the body. That voice you hear is the man's partner. The family didn't approve of his relationship and they have barred him from coming to the funeral and kicked him out of their shared home. That song he's singing is the song they called their own. It was playing when they met. He used to sing it to him all the time when he was dying."
"He's still singing it even though they've taken the body away. He's singing it to an empty bed. I guess it's the last time he feels he'll ever be close to the man he loved. They were together twenty years. The hospital staff don't have the heart to ask him to leave yet."

Until you have been treated as sub-human, it's hard to appreciate how it feels. We will not give up. And we will win in part for the sake of those who never made it to see this day.
This is what my faith teaches me, whatever the Vatican insists. Our love really is stronger than their fear.

For more from Andrew go to:
Andrew Sullivan

The photo above is from Friday’s LOS ANGELES TIMES. The guy in blue with his hand cupped around his mouth to amplify the BOOOO! Is ME. Thank God I look thin. The lovely blonde lezzie to my left is my friend CHRISTIAN CAPOBIANCO. I have already taken crap from friends (???) and others who question the morality (???????) of a boycott & other means of protest. I would refer you to just two (2) of the stories in ONE of the Sullivan Posts above.

“EVIL triumphs when good men do nothing!” – EDMUND BURKE

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Friday, November 14, 2008


That was the name of a very early TV Show starring GALE STORM
Another storm brewing here in L.A is the demonstrations against the Passage of Prop 8 Which for one of the first times in California history formally wrote discrimination into law & eliminated the rights of one minority by virtue of a vote at the ballot box
Sadly I have been unable to attend most of the recent demonstrations to work comittments. One I was able to go to was tonight's demonstration against the restaurant, EL COYOTE in Hollywood. Why demonstrate in front of an extremely mediocre restaurant in Hollywood, you may well ask? And the Answer is my little Margie
Margie Christofferen is the manager & heiress of El COYOTE, her parents apparently owned the joint 50 years ago. Here's the AP:

But Marjorie Chrisoffersen, who is also a Mormon, is not feeling good about her actions. She wants to speak to people about it tomorrow before lunch at the restaurant on Beverly Blvd. near La Brea:

I have been sick at heart that anyone has been offended by me. I have family, friends, employees from the gay community who are treasured people in my life.
I have been a member of the Mormon church all my life. I responded to their request with my personal donation.

For years the El Coyote has financially and generously supported the gay community and its charities.

Please be my guest for an early lunch Wed., Nov. 12th, @ 11:00 am and allow me to personally speak with you.

Please call and make a reservation as seating is limited. (323) 939-2255.


"I think she saw how it affected her pocketbook and freaked," said SFist Editor Brock Keeling who pointed us towards the statement.

Sources say that the restaurant was full for MARGIE'S APOLOGY LUNCH but also that they only took reservations for 70!!

I was so shocked this evening to see dozens of patrons willing to cross a picket line. Imagine pulling into a parking lot of a Mexican Restaurant with hundreds of people with signs screaming "SHAME ON YOU!!" & "HATE ON A PLATE!" & fighting mightily for their civil rights & all YOU care about is your poorly made FAJITAS & BAD MARGARITAS!! WHO are these people?
I counted at least one dozen cars willing to cross the line of folks demanding their civl rights. My credulity was at last strained beyond belief when two young good looking guys with great teeth (!!!!) & clearly BOYFRIENDS exited their PRIUS, explaining that they were MORMONS!!! WHich is the only possible answer! Due to the physical similarity between the 2 dozen or so patrons who were willing to stand on the WRONG side of history!!!
Now I am sorry. On the surface it is just one old lady donating $100 to a cause because her church told her so! I get it. I still consider myself a Catholic. But when my church demands I vote YES on 8 or NO on 4! (Parental Notification of Abortion) or to donate more money to get Pedophile Priests off the hook...I just say NO!!!!! Because it is the right thing to do & I have a fully informed Christian Conscience...I know when to say NO! Margie!!! I'm sorry you do not! And I am sorry that EL COYOTE will be forever off limits for my brothers & sisters in the Gay Commmunity!
Also sorry that we cannot, MUST NOT ever stay in a MARRIOTT HOTEL, EAT AT EL POLLO LOCO, CORNER BAKERY CAFE, Buy FISHER PRICE TOYS, OR BLACK & DECKER TOOLS ...ever again too but more on all these BIGOTED Companies later
Photos above taken with my IPHONE & YES! They suck But funny the one I did capture! Ironic a Company with so much attention to PARKING IN THE REAR turns out to be soooo homophobic

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Post Polling Depression

"Our long National Nightmare has come to an end” - President Gerald R Ford on assuming the Presidency after Nixon's resignation.

Wheeeewww! It’s over right? So sorry to have not posted in quite awhile. It’s been an interesting week. Rather than sit around biting my nails & reading exit polls, I decided to volunteer to be a Poll Worker for Los Angeles County this past election day. It was quite the experience.

You have to arrive at the polling place (Hollywood Women’s Club for me!) to help set up. When I pulled at 5:45 am there were already people lined up though the polling place did not open til 7:00 a.m. And it was RAINING! Wow! I thought this is going to be interesting.

The line eventually wrapped around the long blocks between Franklin Ave. & Hollywood Blvd. But people were so nice & so patient and frankly so HAPPY to be voting, that it felt a privilege to help them do it. You obviously cannot discuss politics if you are playing a official role. But there was one family who came in mid-day that I just wanted to leap up & embrace. African American father, white mother & 2 beautiful sons. The Mom was practically jumping up & down waiting in line. And she could simply not wipe the broad smile off her face. She already had her documentation out and as they approached holding their sons by the hand, she looked at me; and I thought we would both burst into tears. “Great day!” I managed to utter. “It surely is!” she replied & then raced off to the nearest booth. Father & mother each took one child into the voting booth with them. And I wondered if these 2 small children could even appreciate the significance of what they were witnessing.

One thing I could have lived without were the God damn “Write In” people. There were only a few thank God. Yes, I know, as Americans we all have the right to vote for whomever we wish, whether they are running or not. Yep, you can just write in any name you like at the top of your ballot. Think your DAD would make a great President, sign him up! Really miss Hillary Clinton (really?) write her in. The pain on the ass part is that you need a special write in ballot with blank slots at the top. So I had about four of these requests in the 13 hours that the polls were open. I was rather annoyed thinking: ”Come on people! O.K. so your guy or girl isn’t among the nominees. Are you just going to piss your vote away?” But I did my duty & gave them the appropriate ballot. Imagine my delight at learning hours later as we recorded the ballots that two of the write-ins were for PARIS HILTON!!!!!!!! Well, she was running right? But seriously! You waited in line for nearly an hour to vote for PARIS for PRESIDENT!!!???? I’m thinking now that there should be some kind of IQ test for voters! Not ALL RIGHTS should be given to all People!

Which is clearly what many, many people were thinking as CALIFORNIANS voted to write discrimination into LAW! Sadly Proposition 8 (or PROP HATE as it is known in my neighborhood) passed by a slim majority. I’ll likely have a lot more to say on that as the story unfolds (Boycott UTAH!!!-The Hate State CANCEL SUNDANCE! (film festival) RESCIND Tax Exempt Status for Churches Acting as Political Organizations!!) but just let me now just register my profound disappointment & disgust.

For almost 2 years, I have imagined waking up on November 5th, to a whole new world. And I did. I didn’t realize though that the joy & relief I would feel at Obama’s election to the Presidency would be so sourly surpassed by the personal rejection I felt at the hands of my fellow Californians who still think it just that I & my fellow gays keep riding on the back of the bus. Even today, looking at the photos of one of my favorite political rituals where the President-Elect comes calling on the current President as a courtesy, sort of a political Open House Tour…I felt elation then a gnawing guilt. YEA! WE WON!!! Oh no, YOU won; me & mine…we’re still waiting. And every goose-bump feels like a betrayal.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

And the little puffs of smoke spell HATE

Well, gosh! Who doesn't love a skywriter?
Something magically childish about looking up in the sky to watch a plane spell out a message or even an advertisement.
Today I was at a TV Studio when I looked up again with wonder to watch a skywrite spell out: YES ON PROP 8!
Which as you all well know would legally ELIMINATE my RIGHT to Marry in the State of California. Nauseating!

Perhaps because it has one of the greatest BROADWAY Anthems ever & I do LOVE a SHOW TUNE but whatever; I still think this is the most clever, funny & moving video of the campaign! And what better way to finish out this election season

Tomorrow we'll discover what our God in heaven has in store.
One more dawn,
one more day,
one day more!

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