Changing The World One Pansy At A Time!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I realize times are tough. More than 20,000 jobs were lost in a single day this week. Everyone needs to cut corners & save & be constantly aware of the bottom line. I even saw ACADEMY AWARD WINNER, MIRA SORVINO shopping at the outlets with her family in PALM SPRINGS 2 weeks ago. More power to her.

But the JOHN THANE story is just obscene! You know this guy. He used to head up MERRILL LYNCH. He’s the guy who paid out 15 BILLION in bonuses to ML Execs even while profits were in a freefall & all the while waiting for a Government bailout. But more to the point, despite showing a catastrophic loss for the company, THANE was busy fiddling while Rome burned to the tune of $1.22 MILLION to redecorate his office!!!!!!!! The invoice included a $87,000 RUG, $28,000 for four pairs of curtains and….. $1,405 for a wastebasket!!!!!!! Can any family in the entire country read this without wanting to PUKE. Seriously????

Now, the really troubling thing to me is that the rug & the curtains & God Help us the waste basket, were all ordered by the designer MICHAEL SMITH, whom Thane hired for the redecoration.

Michael Smith is a very talented Los Angeles based interior designer frequently featured in the now defunct (as of today!) DOMINO Magazine. His understated style is a little too “MITCHELL GOLD-BOB WILLIAMS-CRATE & BARREL for me; but he has legions of fans. Smith’s credo is so simple, sparse, & plain that I am shocked he could even find, let alone use, a waste receptacle that costs in excess of $1,000!!! The floors of his own Los Angeles home are covered in a type of sea grass or sisal that I wonder where on earth he obtained an $87,000 rug!!!!

Another troubling aspect to this whole disgusting tale is that the FIRST FAMILY; The Barack Obamas, have HIRED Michael Smith to be their personal decorator in The White House!!!!!!! Oh, but I hear that the Obamas have him on a strict budget of $100,000!!!!!!
Sorry Michelle, it looks like YOUR wastebaskets are coming from OFFICE DEPOT if that’s your limit!


Labels: , , ,

Thursday, January 22, 2009

WOW The week That Was

Couldn’t you just feel it? That maybe, just maybe, we can turn this damn ship around? And how lucky we are that perhaps we found the exact right Captain to do it? And with a First Mate as gorgeous & capable as the fabulous MICHELLE OBAMA by his side; how exciting will it be to watch PRESIDENT OBAMA navigate these rocky waters?
OMG enough with the Nautical metophors already. But seriously I love watching our history unfold this week. And at the risk of seeming petty let me defend my criticism of Michelle’s fashion choices.

I enthusiastically applaud her support of young, upcomimng AMERICAN designers. This is laudable. And without going into great detail about all that was wrong with the two Inaugural ensembles, let me just say: BAN THE BLING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Every girl knows that DIAMONDS in DAY TIME are just plain wrong. Which is why even MRS. BERNIE MADOFF only wore a simple gold wedding band most of the time. I liked the color of Michelle’s daytime outfit but to have a garish diamond broach that was so large it seemed to be a choker & could be seen from JUPITER was, in my opinion, just tragic. But this is not the first time that the now house hold name ISABEL TOLEDO took one of her deceptively simple designs & ruined it with the wrong accessory. Toledo made a gorgeous black tunic & evening pants for Mrs. Obama to wear to a CALVIN KLEIN dinner and the whole sensational effect was ruined with the appearance of a large, over-done, diamond & (I suppose sapphire & ruby) necklace. Yea, I get it.. red white & blue! But like it was a prize from a gumball machine. Yuck! And while I am being honest I have to say I HATED the little dress from today’s Prayer Breakfast. The silhouette was lovely in belted black. But then the addition of a chartreuse & purple print (with GRAPES!!!!) was just…ummm….ugly~ I am sorry but I think the AMERICAN FASHION INDUSTRY particularly VOGUE; are just USING Mrs.Obama to sell a lot of ugly clothes by designers that are already in the stores & have a lot to lose by failing commercially. And I do not want a helpful Mrs. Obama to be used that way. Go with your gut Michelle.

Of course my favorite moment form the Inauguration was when the helicopter carried away the disastrous GEORGE BUSH. But even better than that was that the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY deigned to punish the PRINCE of DARKNESS, DICK CHEYNEY by putting him in a wheelchair for his final curtain call!!! Oh& it never really occurred to me but DICK CHEYNEY resembles no one so much as the evil MR POTTER (also in a wheelchair) in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Besides the wheelchair karma we can be content to know that no matter how long her served or how many loathsome deeds he was responsible for; the entire country NEVER, EVER PRONOUNCED his name the way he wanted which (apparently is) CHEEEEEEENEY! Not CHAYNEY) Sorry….DICK! That IS Perfect!

Oh & lest we forget TODAY the ACADEMY AWARD Nominations were revealed. As the former partner of someone who would always wait up til dawn waitng to hear his name called even for performances that were D2DVD (that’s Direct To DVD) Iknow how anxious a time this can be. And all I really want to say is how happy I am that SEAN PENN Was nominated for his uncanny Harvey MILK. And also for my sentimental favorite performance for Best Actor by RICHARD JENKINS in THE VISITOR a film that was by far my favorite this year (I am still replaying scenes in my head…beautiful!) But I scremed out loud when the name MELISSA LEO was called for BEST ACTRESS! A trruly great performance. Bare, no frillls & freaking REAL!! She’ll never win, but all actors should be required to watch her in that role!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, January 19, 2009

Free At Last

3 OBAMA T-SHIRTS (including one to wear on St Patrick's Day) - $75
1 OBAMA Button- $3.00
2 OBAMA Window Signs- $30
1 Umbrella to use in the pouring rain @ the UCLA OPRAH/CAROLINE/MICHELLE Rally in February- $20
3 Online Donations to OBAMA '08 after Big PRIMARY Losses- $100

Playing a small part in taking back our Country & electing the one man with the intellect, grace & vision to LEAD us out of this mess- PRICELESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

God Bless The President of the United States & God Bless America

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday January Eighteenth

With apologies to most of the rest of the country!

Santa Monica, CA - 86 Degrees

Labels: ,

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Parlour Games

They say that in Los Angeles the economy is so bad that more than 30% of existing restaurants will close by month’s end due to the economy. Very sad that, but here’s another that I wish would close because they’re part of the problem.
There is a Pizza Parlour in Hollywood. Very chic. They bottle their own water even. It is one of the loudest restaurants in CA, so you had better like your sever because that is the only human being you will be having any decent conversation with…but I digress.

A famous chef who is a household name in some circles. A fact that is becoming even less important in these perilous times. But here is my most favorite part:

You have to make a reservation. Yes, I hear all of you who do not live in L.A. laughing that you would ever have to make a reservation at a pizza joint but wait, it gets better.

You call the main number & are directed by a voice message to call the Reservation OFFICE. Fine. You call. Oh, but they do not open til 10:00 a.m. You call at 10:01 a.m. You get a recorded message delivered flawlessly by a citizen of the BRITISH Realm. Or since it’s L.A. more likely an out-of-work actress who is hoping for a SHOWTIME audition for THE TUDORS. Very PRINCESS MARGARET!!! She deigns to congratulate you on your having made it into the Reservation QUEUE!!!!! (QUEUE! Pronounced KEW I swear to GOD!) To the Americans reading this that means LINE as in “get in line!” Then she announces that you are “CALLER #9” or, God help you, a higher number. Then the real fun begins. They actually count you down!

Yes they “do thank you for your patience” but then they say “You’re are caller 9!” Then “8” then “7” then “6” As the tension builds you feel so much like a game show contestant that you half expect HOWIE MANDEL or REGIS PHILBIN to be the next voice you hear…but alas, that is not the case (Christ I sound like HER!) No. LADY CHATTERLY gets back on to say “You’re Caller #2” “I’m NEXT!” you think! But you are deluded. After a few moments its announced that “You’re caller #1!” And sooner than you can say “I’ll take POTENT POTABLES for $500 please Alec!” You are connected to a human being!

Your heart is beating loudly when you timidly speak:” Hi! I’ was hoping to make a reservation for next Friday!” ?? “For lunch or dinner?” asks the decidedly non-English voice. “Dinner! you declare. “For how many?” the Beverly-Hills-but-South-of-Olympic voice inquires. “Four” you say brightly. And pathetically you are HOPEFUL. It’s just PIZZA. Its just 4 of you. It’s a full week’s notice! “Of course!” teases Brooke (all problematic girls are named BROOKE so let’s just go with that!) “I can seat you at 10:45!”

No. Do not re-read that. You read correctly the first time. I cannot get a reservation for 4 at the local pizza parlour on a Friday night until nearly MIDNIGHT!!!

I call back. I can appreciate this game. I change the day & the date to lesser ones. I lower the number of my guests. My all time best performance is 4 PEOPLE at 9:30 on a THURSDAY 1 week from now!!!

But now I don’t want to go. I don’t want to work this hard to eat pizza in a restaurant in an almost “dodgy” part of town. And even though the chef is quasi-famous he is most assuredly NOT BRITISH! AAnd I have it on very good authority form my many affected friends who do not say DIE! as quickly as I do, that no matter what hoops you jump through, lies you tell, games you play, the place is always one quarter empty. They leave tables open in case GEORGE CLOONEY & BRAD PITT show up looking for “a SLICE!” Oh & no celebrities are ever even spotted there which in L.A. is the mark of a bad restaurant, trust me.

But is MUST be the BEST PIZZA in LOS ANGELES you’re thinking right now, I bet. Ummm no! The BEST PIZZA in LOS ANGELES can be found at a place called ANGELINO CAFE on 3rd Street where there ARE CELEBRITIES are where there is NO reservation drama, and where they are always glad to see you, even if there is no QUEUE!

Cafe Angelino

Labels: , , ,

Al Sharpton for President

Atlanta GA

From the pulpit of Tabernacle Baptist Church on Sunday, Rev. Al Sharpton called out the Mormon Church and other conservative faiths for mobilizing to support Proposition 8 to ban gay marriage in California while refusing to be as involved in any other social concerns.

“It amazes me when I looked at California and saw churches that had nothing to say about police brutality, nothing to say when a young black boy was shot while he was wearing police handcuffs, nothing to say when the they overturned affirmative action, nothing to say when people were being delegated into poverty, yet they were organizing and mobilizing to stop consenting adults from choosing their life partners,” Sharpton told a packed audience on Jan. 11.

“There is something immoral and sick about using all of that power to not end brutality and poverty, but to break into people’s bedrooms and claim that God sent you,” Sharpton added.

" break into people's bedrooms and claim God sent you!!!!!!! That is GENIUS!

Damn!!! Preach It Rev!!

If only our President-elect had the balls this dude does!

Speaking of whom I am driving south on the 405 today & see a (possibly home-made) bumper sticker that said: "Impeach Obama" of course the jackass behind the wheel was white & drivng one of those huge SUVS that will keep us in the Middle East until Jesus comes again otherwise I would have made attempt to explain the Constitution & how it is impossible to impeach someone who has not taken the Oath of Office yet.

I was on the freeway going to buy office supplies. And as a gay man I always have to ask WHY? Lord, WHY? do the things we need to organize our desks & offices always have to be so ugly & cheaply made???

I went to STAPLES. And you know what I forgot to buy there? Wait for it...STAPLES!

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pet Sounds

Happy New Year everyone! TheGayGardener has a lot of irons in the fire lately; so I have been very remiss about blogging, sorry.

Two years ago today, I lost my best friend. He was 13 years old, salt & pepper hair, well, fur actually. His name was Sam. I miss him every day.

I like to say that Sam & I met on the last day of my 29th year & that I stayed that age in his eyes, if no one else’s .
Everyone thinks their pet is special. Mine was specially neurotic. I wish I knew where he got it! Unlike most dogs I see in Los Angeles he hated riding in the car. He would only sleep in his “doggy bed” if it was placed on top of my bed. He lived the entire last year of his life eating nothing but avocadoes & imported Italian Parmesan Cheese (@ $24 per lb!)

How do you tell the story of your life with a dog? We played fetch, he slobbered on the guests, barked at the mailman, ate a biscuit etc.??
I’m not a “pet person” really. It was my EX’s idea to get a dog. We had just “lost” a cat to the coyotes in the Hollywood Hills and wanted to improve our odds with a larger animal. With no notion or research, we ended up with an English Springer Spaniel we named: “Charmichael’s Canyonwood Sam” (something fancy for the AKC Papers!) Son of Champion “Reverence” & “Cachet”. His mother was a bitch (we had that in common) DOB: October 18, 1993.
We actually didn’t pick him up from the breeder until December 18th 1993 just in time for my Birthday.

So after the love of my life (ha!) whom I moved 3,00 miles across the country to be with; decided after more than 6 years, that he couldn’t live without the younger, handsomer, caterer he hired for our Christmas party, this despite the fact that the lad nearly poisoned all of our friends with undercooked turkey, I got custody of Willie the cat & Sam the dog…the kids. Oh & $5,000 out of the $1.8 Million he had made that year. It was the best “Severance Package” I ever got.
Somebody once said that to own a pet is a guaranteed heart ache. The odds are just no good that they will outlive you. And so here sits Sam, now on my desk, in a lovely urn from Smith & Hawken; waiting for me, like always, to come home & take him out for a walk.
I love & miss you Buddy.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Away In Manger

So a friend (???) emailed me on Facebook to find out “what LAWN I stole the Baby Jesus from?” that was featured in my Christmas Decorations (“Buon Natale 08”) Well I guess the honest answer is: my parents lawn. But let me explain.

Do you want to know how GAY I was as a child?? For my 12th Birthday I asked for a “light-up HOLY FAMILY”. Yea you read correctly. I was so into Christmas & the requisite “decorating” & everyone said I had “a FLAIR” that much unlike other 12 year old boys who were asking for new hockey sticks, or “spikes” or baseball gloves or other utterly depressing items, I was begging for objects for display on my Parent’s front lawn.

Since my Birthday is so close to Christmas (December 19th) I was hoping to double down & end up with the whole NATIVITY ENSEMBLE in one season. My parents bought me the MARY & JOSEPH. I purchased the Baby Jesus with the plastic manger accessory included. My 6 brothers & sisters chipped in & bought me 2 of the three WISE MEN (which because of my o.c.d. had to wait for the following year for their unveiling as what gay guy could work with only ¾ of a TRIO?) But it is the thought that counts. And I refuse to accuse them of racism just because they only purchased the WHITE WISE MEN.

In any event, I built a “stable” out of left over lumber and since my Dad worked in Insurance (as one of his 9 jobs) and since the insurance company covered the local race track; I prevailed upon him to visit the “actual” stables & bring home some straw or hay for an authentic effect! Which, to his credit. he uncomplainingly did!

It was some seasons before I could build up to Shepherds & sheep & other animals….but I managed. My dream was to have the whole Nativity tableaux with a Santa Clause & sleigh & eight reindeer (plus RUDOPLH!) flying high above them just to “tie up” the entire Christmas Story but I never did achieve this worthy goal. Partly because my neighbors wouldn’t agree to having guy wire strung between our two homes with lighted electrical decorations attached. But mainly because I got distracted by KNOTTS LANDING or FALCON CREST or DYNASTY (before they went or MOLDAVIA) or something, in all honesty.
But the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die. In the immortal words of Sen. Ted Kennedy.

So the “front lawn” in question my dear “K.R” is 2909 Thunderhead Road…a place that lives only in my dreams!

Labels: , ,

Felize 2009

Well that’s what they say in BRAZIL anyway. And that is where I was lucky enough to spend Christmas Day through New Year’s. A lovely place. We didn’t do RIO or SAO PAULO or any of the known big places. “dark & tan & young & lovely the girl from IPENEMA goes walking & when she passes eanc one she passes goes ahhhhhh…” those kind of places.

Instead we went to a beach resort called RECIFE & then on to a place called, Porto de Galinhas, which is a very sweet way of saying PORT OF THE CHICKENS. And they aren’t kidding! I saw dozens of trucks carrying so many chickens that I became a vegetarian for the week. But honestly the FOOD is enough reason for any one to go to BRAZIL!! I think I gained 10 lbs in the past 8 days!!

Did you ever have the kind of vacation where you did absolutely nothing & it all felt something like a DREAM?? Then this one was it for me. Breakfast, beach, chair, ocean, chair, ocean, chair, shower, dinner, bed! For SEVEN DAYS!!! And man I needed it!

If you go to Brazil you’d better bone up on your Portugeuse! They do NOT speak ENGLISH, nor SPANISH, nor ITALIAN. God Bless em. But I must say my CHARADES skills have improved considerably!

No one & I mean no one does NEW YEARS’S EVE like BRAZIL. For minimal additional costs (US $50) we were treated to a NYE Extravaganza like I have never seen before. The day of the whole resort was covered in white fabric. The tabletops, the landscaping, the awnings, & white flags flying hither & yon. Dinner was at 8:00. And all of the guests (99% Brazilians) arrived wearing all white which is easy for them as its Summer! An endless open buffet was provided (the English word is : Yummy!!!) At 10 the festivities began in earnest. Dozens of women & men in brightly colored sequined garb began dancing accompanied by drums & horns & brass. Near midnight the dancing reached a fever-pitch & we were lead to a table where the staff was poring champagne like water. Then on to the beach which had been lit by hundreds of fire pots up & down the coast. We were given white flowers to toss into the Atlantic at Midnight & make a wish for the New Year. And then the skies EXPLODED with fireworks from our beach & as far as the eye could see!! STUNNING.
After this I cannot imagine spending New Years ANYWHERE else but BRAZIL!

Happy New Year to all of you & thanks for making 2008 such a great year for TheGaygardener.,

Sweet Peas & peace & a great 2009 to all of you!!

Labels: , ,

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Little Christmas

Today is officially The Feast of The Epiphany. Also known as “Little Christmas” When the Magi finally showed up which we have already discussed. This day marks the formal end of the Christmas Season NOT the 75% MARKDOWN at BLOOMINGDALE’s as is popularly believed.

This past Christmas we were fortunate enough to once again be hosted by our delicious friend the producer/designer; KEITH KNOPF at his home-away-from-home in the Hollywood Hills. As many of our guests were of Italian extraction we chose to call this BUON NATALE 2008. What a lovely time we had. Of course the food was AMAZING which goes without saying. But the company was more a gift than anything else. And for the Second year in a row a surprise appearance by BUDDY THE ELF

I am so lucky to be part of this beautiful, interesting, talented, family-of-our-own-making. That even if none of them could actually cook I’d still choose them & we’d just order pizza.

Christmas never really ends for TheGayGardener; and I hope it never ends for you either!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Christmas 2008 A Look Back

“Christmas can’t be over…I’m still decorating!” –TheGayGardener

Hi everyone!! So sorry to be absent for so long. Fortunately December is a really busy time for TheGayGardener. I did 2 parties, 3 Christmas trees, 2 Holiday House exteriors (so sick of pointsettias I could scream) all the while fighting record rainfall in L.A. oh! and then I left for a Winter holiday to South America on Christmas Day. I’m pooped! But I bet you are too!

A few things I learned or re-learned this Holiday season:

*Use Mother Nature as often as you can. Spray painted white sticks or branches can make a great tree in a lovely pot or container. (I trimmed one using some vintage chandelier crystals I took off a lamp years ago.) And Pinecones are everywhere & make great accents & they’re free!! I brushed some white paint on the tips for a snowy affect & strung them with colored ribbon & hung them everywhere. You can also place a large or medium sized one in a container and make a little perfect tree.

*A pretty branch painted white & placed in a tall glass vase with white gravel or rock salt looks simple yet dramatic.

*Fill regular Christmas ball ornaments with water & use them as vases! I got this from Better Homes & Gardens. BH&G placed the balls in vases first but I just used some glued on wire on the bottom to steady the balls. Silver balls filled with white roses & placed on a table top mirror is look smashing!

* Please let’s stop pretending that “We have enough lights!” And ignore your husband if he says something similar to that. We never have enough lights. You all know my Tree Rule : A MINIMUM of 100 L.P.F. (lights per foot) but that’s just weak. 200 is more like it. So buy light early & buy them often, you’ll find a use for them. Even if only to replace the 3 sets that you have in the garage that will be burned out before Christmas eve.

* Two words: Spray Snow! I love this stuff!! It costs what, $2 a can? And you can use it give your tree a little snow mist & avoid the dreaded “Flocking” (an ugly word for an ugly effect) You can spray the aforementioned sticks in lieu of white paint. I used it to temporarily whitewash some terra cotta pots and it looked terrific. You can, of course use it on the windows as prescribed.

*Tinsel in the hands of an amateur will prove fatal. Trust me.

* Gift giving is like the Academy Awards. It seems such a big deal at the time & we sweat over each purchase (especially these days!) But nobody will remember next year what they got this year just like no one recalls who won last year’s Oscar! Unless the answer is Marissa Tomei. So unless you’ve made an unbelievably bad gift choice, don’t sweat it. Being together is really all that matters!

* You need a unifier! Ok So I get the nostalgia of using all those macaroni covered ornaments that the kids made in 6th grade every year! So use all that sentimental stuff but try to unify the tree in some way. Use only red balls. Or just "star" ornaments or lengths of garlands or beads in the same color this will make your tree seem more "done"

This Sunday is the feast of The Epiphany or "Little Christmas" This day commemorates the arrival of the Magi to the stable when the Christ Child was born. Hey they were WISE & ARTISTIC men nobody said they were punctual!! YOU try telling time by a damn STAR!!

After Sunday if your tree is still up your just sad. Or more likely lazy!! Merry Little!!

Labels: , ,