Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Cruise

Well, my new cruise isn't as much fun as I thought it would be.

It's a little old fashioned.

Here's a photo from the deck:

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Los Angeles, Day Four

Woke up late at like 2, it was nice to sleep in.
Went to the post office to send myself the items the ONE Archives gave me.  16 lbs 8 oz I don't have to try to get back home, thank goodness, but $60 poorer.
It was quite funny, the line at the post office went on forever and the lady in front of us is like "Can I see all your stamps? Your 1 cent, 2 cent, I need to see them all." Then she did some math in her head, then she asked about a money order, then she did some more math, and took like 3 stamps worth about 20 cents.  The she goes to leave and she comes back and goes "What was my total again? I forget." And the lady behind the counter, who had been the picture of politeness, goes "I TOLD you, 20 cents!" and the woman asked to see her manager.  Well everyone in line is just dying laughing, so I get up to the window and say in a very loud voice "Can I see one of each stamp in every denomination?" and we're all howling with laughter and the girl behind the counter is crying she's laughing so hard.  This guy in line is like "Can you hurry up please, there's people behind you" to the woman beside me, and she goes "What are you going to do about it, sweet cheeks?" and then we all laughed again.

I went to the opening of the new show "Steven Arnold: Cabinet of Curiosities" at the ONE Archives Gallery and Museum in WeHo tonight. A nice space for a gallery but ours is much bigger.
 Yes a nice space, but no finger foods.  Now how is a brother supposed to kick back and have a good time with no crudités?
 I was going to wear this outfit below, I'm glad I didn't, I would have clashed.
 I mean, no celery, or crackers or nothing??
 Not even a 99 cent bag of salt and vinegar chips in a bowl?
 A cookie?
 I walked by this on the way home.  Looked cool but was shut.
Shuttle to my boat tomorrow.  No blogging for 7 days.  Will write stuff and post when I get home.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives

I went today to visit to ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles.
 A huge display of ONE magazines.
 Their button collection of gay bike gangs, which were apparently popular.
 Similar to how the CLGA has art on the walls, they had various exhibitions up in unused wall space.

 This was part of an exhibition on ACT-UP L.A.
 A photo of a "die-in" event.
 This is there volunteer desk.  They said they have three full time staff, two are archivists.  They said they partnered with a local university which provides them the space and one of the staff members.  Another staff member is from a private corporation's sponsorship.
 This is the cage into their library which I thought was cool.  The books on the shelf outside are their dupes, selling for $5 hardcover and $2 softcover.
One thing he said is about 1/4 of the books on their shelves have yet to be cataloged as they only have 20 volunteers to run the whole thing. Thank Gerry King we don't have that problem.
We discussed succession planning and the man giving me the tour mentioned the lack of volunteering spirit in modern times.  I suggested each person's job would have to be broken down, especially at first, and the work of a 20 year volunteer could perhaps be taken over by five or six new volunteers.
This is their reading room and work area. They said they accept donations, the Advocate gives them some items, and they have a very small budget to buy items, about $3,000 a year.
Their books are all organized by author or subject on books about someone. Fiction and non-fiction together. They are currently in the process of cleaning up the collection, they had been keeping every edition of every book and no longer have room to do so.  So for example, the hardcover version is staying, the softcover is going. As they have partnered with the University, they give some books to them, some get sold at the archives, and some get sold online for which they receive a percentage of profits.
 I LOVED this idea.  These are their vertical files and on the outside they have hung duplicate material or photocopies of a couple of the interesting pieces inside each section.  They said this really helps with tours, rather than say "These are boxes of papers", you can show people an example of what is inside.  For example, in this photo is a letter from the FBI files received under the freedom of information act on the ONE organization from the 1950's.  This is notes the FBI kept on the group's activities. The first copy they got almost everything was redacted, the second copy obtained more recently just mostly redacted.
 Collections of papers.
 Magazines, again with issues out front for showing off during tours.  They're all duplicate material so they can be messed up or flipped through.
 I loved this idea too, on the front of the building they have sold bricks to donors and put their names on them in gold.  An innovative fundraiser that lets people see their donation at work.
 The main public service desk.  There is room for more volunteers in back and offices upstairs.
They gave me a bunch of material to bring back and were very warm and accommodating. 
They have a separate space for exhibitions across town in West Hollywood so this is primarily a research centre.  The man giving the tour advised they do keep lesbian material but that there is also a separate lesbian archives across town.
It was interesting to compare their archives to the CLGA.  They had some great new ideas, for example a book was recently written using their material and the author hosted an event with actors reenacting scenes from the book and they charged $50 a head.  I loved the gold brick idea, the items on display at the end of the racks, and a separate display with books written from their material, which I also thought was a great idea, showing the value of their organization. Also their partnership with the University has secured their long term future.
We discussed common problems, duplicate materials, aging of volunteers, lack of space as the amount of LGBT material has grown exponentially.
The CLGA is also doing several things correctly though, with a large active volunteer base, up to date cataloging and committees such as community engagement.
It was great to be able to talk with them and tour their facility and to be able to share ideas with a common goal.

Los Angeles, Day Three

A short post.
I woke up and went to the Getty.  Bus drivers gave me wrong directions, I tried to get on the bus but there was construction, I had to wait across the street for a different bus.  When that came 30 min later I was on the wrong side of the road.  When the next came 30 min later they told me to try the first one again.  I had to pay again and again. A joke.
I finally got almost there and then walked down a treacherous road and nearly got hit by 100 cars.  The Getty was nice enough, the Maplethorpe exhibit was very small, no photos allowed. It took me so long to get there due to spending two hours waiting for one bus, so I had to leave to get to the archives.

I had promised a write up on my visit to the archives so I'm doing that as a separate post.

Also I learned a new word, "cream" or "creme" but I don't know what it means.  McDonalds is selling holiday Christmas pies, like their apple pie but for Christmas.  I asked what was in it and the guy said "cream".  Now to me, cream is like what goes in coffee, which that was not.  Also it can't be whipped cream as you can't deep fry a whipped cream pie.  So what the heck is it?
I went to a bakery today and they had a chocolate covered thing, I asked what was in it and she goes "cream" ("creme"?).
What the hell is cream?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Los Angeles, Day Two

Here is Hollywood and Highland.  Supposedly the place to see the Hollywood sign from.  Do you see a Hollywood sign?
 Waited for 45 minutes for the bus to the cemetery and then the people showed up with their Jesus signs chanting about god so I got a taxi.  We pulled in and I thought it would be better marked.  I remember the cemetery in Paris with a map and famous people marked, but not here, it was more like a proper cemetery and I had to go in and ask and get directions.  I also bought a rose.
I walked over to the grave and as I was looking around for it, I saw a couple of deer at the top of the hill guiding me.
 I walked over to where the deer was and found Paul and his partner Roger and instantly started crying.
 Beautiful amazing words from a beautiful amazing man.
 Together again.
 Paul has a great view, this is looking up, near where the deer were.
 And this is looking down into the Hollywood hills.
 I sat there for about two hours.  I talked and shared a lot of private things, and I read from his works.  Security kept circling me but I paid them no attention.

I will share two things, the first is a poem Paul wrote at this spot after his partner Roger passed away from AIDS in 1986:

everything extraneous has burned away
this is how burning feels in the fall of the final year
not like leaves in a blue October but as if the skin were a paper lantern full of trapped moths beating their fired wings
and yet I can lie on this hill just above you
a foot beside where I will lie myself soon soon and for all the wrack and blubber
feel still how we were warriors when the merest morning sun in the garden was a kingdom
after Room 1010
war is not all death it turns out
war is what little thing you hold on to refugeed and far from home
oh sweetie will you please forgive me this
that every time I opened a box of anything
Glad Bags
KINGSIZE was the worst
I'd think will you still be here when the box is empty
Rog Rog who will play boy with me now that I bucket with tears
through it all when I'd cling beside you sobbing
you'd shrug it off with the quietest I'm still here
I have your watch in the top drawer
which I don't dare wear yet
help me please
the boxes grocery home day after day
the junk that keeps men spotless but it doesn't matter now how long they last or I
the day has taken you with it and all there is now is burning dark
the only green is up by the grave
and this little thing of telling the hill I'm here oh I'm here

And finally, the closing lines from his book Becoming a Man:

...this feeling that I'm the last one left, in a world where only the ghosts still laugh. But at least they're the ghosts of full-grown men, proof that all of us got that far, free of the traps and the lies. And from that moment on the brink of summer's end, no one would ever tell me again that men like me couldn't love.

I really feel that he was the one, the messiah to lead our people, to teach what brotherhood can mean, to help our community get past the shame and the anger and the regret and into love.  A brilliant man.
I thanked him for his contribution to the world and left. 
Gotta hurry, I got back late and busy day tomorrow.
I saw The Book of Mormon tonight.  A solid 9 out of 10.  Clever, funny, thought provoking.  A little heavy handed in some parts and the Mormon hell scene went on too long.
The idea of founding a religion based in America and exporting it to other countries in staggering in its audacity.  Still the irony was not lost on me with people laughing at Jesus in New York City or god living on another planet while fully accepting the virgin birth.
Afterward for $20 you could have your photo taken with the two stars in support of Broadway Cares Fights AIDS so I did, of course.  Here's two copies, the first with the red eye out but we look kind of alien and the second with the red eye in.

I did manage to find the place where the famous people sign their names and do the hand prints. I was impressed at the range of eras, Cher did it in 2010 which was late, but Natalie Wood did it in the 1930's, which I thought was early.  How old was she, 10?
Lots of famous people I don't care about, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Eddie Murphy, etc., and one I did.
Long travel (what else is new from this place?!?!) tomorrow.  First the post office, a 20 minute walk, for some stamps, then the Getty and the ONE archives.  Night!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Los Angeles, Day One

Well, you live and learn.  My flight from SF was delayed and I got here about 5 pm.  I have no idea why I picked this location, I think it got good reviews, but I may as well be in the middle of a field for how close I am to anything.  It's a one hour walk to Hollywood and Highland, I took the bus there today, and it's definitely a place I would not recommend. (EDIT: I am beside an old folks home.)
The area is economically depressed and unlike say SF where the people are homeless like forever, this seems to be newly homeless and crazy, people sleeping in their cars, that type of thing. Take your good handgun when visiting here, not the every day one you used in SF, the good one, the one you keep for when company comes over.
I didn't take any pictures of buildings as really, why?  I got there just as it was getting dark and couldn't see the Hollywood sign, although I did see it on the ride in from the airport.  The only famous building I could find was Grauman's Chinese Theatre which was hosting a movie premiere for Cloud Atlas and Orlando Bloom I think was signing stuff and held up our bus and was gone by the time I got off the bus.  Plus there was barricades all around and road work and the street was closed for construction and what a disaster.

So the good part is my room is Shangri-La, with more room than I think my house.  The bad part is no WI-fi in the room, and remote doesn't begin to describe the location.  I thought I was at least near the Theatre for tomorrow night's Book of Mormon, but no, turns out that was from ANOTHER Banana Bungalow, so I'm like a 30 minute bus ride away from ANYTHING and a 1.5 hour ride even to the pier.  Nuts.
I've prepaid, so I'm stuck but it's only for a few days.  Looking forward to Paul Monette tomorrow and the show.

Also a problem with my luggage, when I got to the airport it weighed 83 lbs, or a $200 charge.  Yep.  So I said I would split it into two bags and paid the $60 for the two bags but my one duffel I could only get 20 lbs in, not the 30 lbs required, but the man took pity on me when I gave him bribe money and nearly cried and let it through.  I have no idea how I'm getting home, I need to start throwing away things and can't buy one more thing.  I did buy a backpack downtown which I can use as carry-on for my computer and other things.

Yes, so I walked down the walk of fame until it was too far from the tourist section and I was approaching certain death, then I turned back.  The crazy person holding the knife stabbing the air convinced me.  Here's the few stars I cared about that I walked past.  Also I was thinking, they give this at the end of the person's career, most of these people are long forgotten by now.  Everyone today wants Justin Bieber.  The walk of fame is hardly a draw.

 This is my room.  Notice the hugeness and the three beds.

 This is just SOME of my clothes.  I think I know where all the weight is.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

San Francisco Day Five

Woke up this morning and went to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In retrospect I should have just set a $20 bill on fire and filmed it and created my own art project, it would have been better.
Here is the building across the street, can you spot Waldo?
 Here he is!
 This was kind of cool I guess.
 This was cross-stitch on canvas and I thought original.
 There are all brains.  Makes you think.
 And that was it.  So after 45 minutes I went and sat in the park and wrote my homework for my writing class.  We had to write about this British woman who owns a B & B who turned away a couple because they were gay.  The police came, said she couldn't go that, etc.  We had to write it from the perspective of the woman and stop just before she turns them away.

I really like what I came up with.  I was playing with the "horrible old woman" concept, along the lines of the "crooked old man" with the "crooked old cat" that I had seen a couple days ago, and as I was walking into the park, this middle aged woman mumbled "Obama" at me as I walked past her, but she kept walking and pretended like she didn't.  So this is what I wrote:

The Horrible Old Woman went down the stairs of her B & B home, passing a guest on the stairwell as she went. She whispered very softly the last name of the conservative candidate for PM as she passed, reasoning that subtle hypnosis was as good a method of vote collecting as any. She'd been trying a few methods recently of drumming up support for her chosen candidate and this was the latest. She had tried volunteering at the local riding office and calling people on the phone with disastrous results. People didn't generally want to be bothered at home, or if they did they were usually in the mood for an argument about things over which she had no control: health care, taxes, schools, as if she were a policy maker and not a lowly volunteer. 
On her nightstand beside her horrible old bed was a book by Edgar Case, "Understanding the Subconscious Mind." Not the type of thing she usually read but it had been left by a guest so she had been browsing through it before drifting off to sleep the last couple of nights. The book suggested a word lightly spoken could have subconscious impact on a subject if repeated and she had just finished reading this when she got out of bed and headed down the stairs. 
The Horrible Old Woman now turned to look directly at the man walking up the other side of the narrow staircase and smiled and said hello. 
He looked up, distracted and groggy with sleep and mumbled something that could have been hello as he walked back up stairs to his room. At least it COULD have been hello. It could have been the name of the Labour candidate for all she knew, her hearing seemed to be going and these young people did tend to mumble. Was it possible the Edgar Case book was more popular than she knew?
Turning back down the stairs, she mumbled the name of the Conservative party candidate once more for good measure and continued to the kitchen. 
The Horrible Old Woman got a tin of cat food out of the cupboard and bent to feed her Horrible Old cat who had been mewing incessantly. Giving it a few light strokes, her back started to ache, reminding her of her age, urging her to stand straight and move into the hallway. 
She reviewed the reservation book for the day, as she had each morning since her husband had passed away and she had decided to open their large house as a B & B in an effort to continue living there. A full house again, business was good in the summer, and she had a couple checking in early that morning. 
She glanced at the clock above the mantle, 7 a.m.  Time to start getting breakfast and coffee ready for the guests.  She walked back over to the kitchen hearing a click sound from her leg as she turned too suddenly. Whatever next, she wondered. Her attention was caught by the sound of a car pulling in to the gravel driveway.
The Horrible Old Woman walked up to the large drawing room window of her Horrible Old House and brushed aside an edge of curtain so she could look outside. This was early indeed for guests and she watched the man struggle with trying to open the trunk of his rental car while his passenger sat inside.  Presently the passenger door opened as well and out stepped a younger man, 30's, 40's, who could tell, wearing a pink shirt with some white writing on it she couldn't quite make out. 
She glanced from one well-dressed man to the other and back, and it slowly dawned on the Horrible Old Woman the nature of their relationship. 
She reflexively clicked her tongue and let the curtain go. 
There was going to be a problem here. 

 Afterward I went shopping at Old Navy again and bought a jacket as I was kind of freezing.  I went back to my room and packed and then thought I'd head back to the Castro for dinner.
Lots of the places were like sushi, which I don't like, or places with a bar like atmosphere and as I was alone I thought I'd read my book but I couldn't as it was too dark.
While I was there I took another photo of the LGBT history museum as I'm supposed to write an article about my visit for the CLGA newsletter and I didn't have a photo of the outside.
I found this burger place with very good burgers, very homey feel, and about half full.  When I came in everyone was watching Family Feud and playing along and I as I was eating it quickly turned to Judge Judy.  We all sat there watching the case and giving our opinions and deciding who was gay.  It was the most fun I've had in a long time in the village, loved it.
After, went over to the Human Rights Campaign store and action centre which is in the building which used to be Harvey Milk's camera store.  I bought a ring that says "Equal".  I've bought other rings over the course of my life, what the hell happened to all of them?
When I came back I played with Leo the bird and he hopped onto my hand and shoulder.
 While in the Castro I found a greeting card by an artist named Michael Breyette.  His stuff looks awesome and I ordered a 2013 calendar and a couple other things from him when I got back to my room tonight.
I also bought an e-cigarette system which they say can help you quit smoking which was crazy expensive but will hopefully work.
Flight is at 1 pm tomorrow but I need to leave here at 9:30 or before so off to bed.  LA tomorrow, the time in SF has FLOWN by.