The Minstrel

Definitions: Radical Faerie
April 23, 2008, 1:37 pm
Filed under: LGBTQ

During the Army-McCarthy hearings of 1954, chief counsel to McCarthy’s subcommittee on investigations, Roy Cohn, denied being a homosexual. Joseph Welch, the Army’s attorney in the hearings, asked a witness if a photo entered as evidence “came from a pixie,” defining “pixie” for McCarthy as “a close relative of a fairy.” Hearing attendees laughed; Roy Cohn called the remark “malicious,” “wicked,” and “indecent.” In 1984, Cohn was diagnosed with AIDS, but he insisted that the disease was liver cancer.

Meanwhile, on November 11, 1950, Harry Hay and a small group of friends met and organized as the Mattachine Society. The group incorporated in 1954. The name Mattachine derived from the French Société Mattachine, a French medieval and renaissance masque group; Hay explained:

The 1950s Gays were also a masked people, unknown and anonymous, who might become engaged in morale building and helping ourselves and others, through struggle, to move toward total redress and change.

Hay also founded the Radical Faeries in 1979. Hay spoke of the ills of conformity:

We pulled ugly green frog skin of heterosexual conformity over us, and that’s how we got through school with a full set of teeth. . . .  We know how to live through their eyes. We can always play their games, but are we denying ourselves by doing this? If you’re going to carry the skin of conformity over you, you are going to suppress the beautiful prince or princess within you.

As May Day approaches, and sap rises in the woodlands rendering vibrant browns and fertile greens, Faeries prepare to gather. Perhaps, these woodland creatures are the sort to disappear at the first glimmer of the rising sun, or upon scholarly quest for definition. To beseech is to startle these wild creatures away — whitetail flag. To understand, perhaps, one must not analytically define, but dance in firelight to bongos as the Beltane moon rises above the misty mountain tops. Pure magic by nature resists definition.


February 26, 2008, 12:27 pm
Filed under: LGBTQ

“There is no doubt whatever that I was a lackadaisical young spoony; but there was a purity of heart in all this, that prevents my having quite a contemptuous recollection of it, let me laugh as I may.”

“Close your door, Faggot!”
February 25, 2008, 10:12 am
Filed under: LGBTQ

I traveled “home” last weekend to Knoxville, TN, to visit my Uncle Joe in “Queen Acres,” and something terrible happened. Here’s the story:

I walked out of Joe’s rustic, ivy covered house to my shiny, recently-fixed, silver car, parked on Joe’s residential street, directly in front of the front door. I carried a cup of coffee in my hand. Joe brewed a fresh pot for my trip back to North Carolina, because I had entered into that common afternoon state of mind–the post-lunch lull, better suited for taking naps than driving cars. Of course–clumsy me–I spilled the coffee almost as soon as I sat down in the driver’s seat. “Shit,” I proclaimed, and Joe, who had been waving cheerfully from the front door, came out with paper towels to help clean up my mess.

My door was wide open, protruding slightly into the street. Meanwhile, a beat-up pickup truck revved toward my car from one end of Joe’s neighborhood. The driver, I believe, sped up when he saw my car, with the door protruding into the street. He flew past us, almost hitting us, then slammed on his breaks, coming to a screeching halt. Smells of burned rubber, oil and gasoline filled the air, and the driver opened up the door of his truck and stomped toward us.

“Don’t you know how to close your Goddamn door, Faggot,” he said to me. I answered, “Don’t call people faggots.” He replied, “Close your Goddamn door, Faggot.” Then, speaking to the passenger in his truck, the driver said, “He is a Goddamn faggot. Just look at him.” Then, he started walking toward me and Joe. I said, “If you come one more step, I will call the police.” He replied, “That’s right Faggot. Can’t stand up for yourself. Call the fucking police.” I dialed 911 on my phone, preparing for the worst. I did not press send.

Then, undergoing an interesting change of tone, the boy said to Joe, “Well, I’ll apologize to you; just make sure you close your door next time.” At this point, I was a bit too fired up, and perhaps, said too much; I said, “No, an apology starts with ‘I’m sorry.'”

The boy edged closer, again called me a faggot, and backed away to the truck. He then climbed into the driver’s seat and attempted to start the piece of junk. In vain–it wouldn’t start. Then, he and the passenger pushed the truck down the street until the engine sputtered into action. As they rolled away, I noticed the truck didn’t have a license tag. Of course it didn’t.

I suppose this is just another day in the life of an American gay man. This, however, drives to point home that hate crimes actually happen to people. Even, if I’m not careful, to me.

Day number six sans cigarettes.
February 18, 2008, 1:05 pm
Filed under: Travel

The upside: I feel, actually, great. I don’t have cravings; I don’t feel gross or smelly; my eyes are not yellow or bloodshot; I run with higher energy, and don’t cough afterwards. I am, generally, in a better mood.

The downside: No one mistakes me for a “bad boy.” I have nothing to do with my hands, except knit, which is not sexy, but helps when I want a smoke. I look ten years younger.

Overall, the good outweighs the bad.

Travel: I figure, the way to reward myself for quitting smoking (for six whole days, no less) is to do my favorite thing in the world–travel, a whole fucking lot. This month will be busy, with trips to Knoxville, TN, Boone, NC, and San Francisco, CA. Then, a month later, Short Mountain, TN. The summer excursion to Europe is still not definite, but will (I hope!) include a trip to Barcelona and Lausanne. And possibly, (hopefully!) Montreal. Yes, I’m a busy boy! Can you keep up?

Update: Montreal is considered Europe, right?! 😉

Cold February
February 11, 2008, 11:09 am
Filed under: Societal Nonsense

“He was often off sick or playing hooky and suffered from a kind of ennui, a mixture of listlessness and willful melancholy.”


Summer Plans, Already
January 8, 2008, 10:11 am
Filed under: Travel

Already, I’m scheming my summer excursion. I would call it simply “planning,” but sometimes I believe that even though all of my plans are harmless (except, maybe to me–for example, my plan to smoke a cigarette when my day gets stressful), they’re still schemes. There’s an element of this-plan-isn’t-tempered-with-moderation. That nagging angel on my shoulder–moderation. I should knock her to her knees. At any rate, my scheme:

Of course, my scheme involves another trip to Europe. Well, not just involves–it is another trip to Europe. I want to go so badly–to shed the bore of a daily grind and replace it with beaches and piña coladas. I think my first stop will be Barcelona–the perfect place for beaches and piña coladas, then perhaps I’ll revisit my Parisian friend who presently has undertaken a theatre job in Marseilles. Southern France this time; although it will be difficult to enter the country without endeavoring to go north to Paris. That wonderful place–Paris. The city haunts my dreams. I’m sure to revisit, perhaps on a more permanent basis, but that’s later in life. Maybe, this time, I’ll work my way up the coast to Juan-les-Pins, instead. Afterwards, I’ll happily visit old friends, Jason and John, in their hideaway in the Swiss Alps–I have no idea where–I think somewhere near Lausanne. Who cares about the location; I’ll be nestled with loved ones in the environ of snow covered mountain peaks and lake filled vales. At the end of the journey, I hope I’m able to take a long-ass train ride to Berlin. Berlin–this city was the reason I began scheming at all. However, the scheme seems to be taking a different shape at this point. Maybe I’ll fly to Berlin.

For a plethora of good reasons, even moderate reasons, I’m strongly considering an application to the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands for an LLM in international human rights and criminal justice. More on that later.

Update: Perhaps, I should call my own attention (and the attention of my sparse reading audience) to the fact that my last scheme began with Istanbul and ended with the Greek Islands (not a bad trade). I guess what I’m saying is this: It’s January. I’m restless. These plans are subject to change, but maybe I should just solidify by buying a plane ticket to London, after which, at least that’s settled. Ugh, I hate London–that too-fucking-expensive gateway city. I’m using the word “hate” here. Anyway–ending on a positive note: of course, as always, I vow to live in interesting times.

“Happy Birthday, Mrs. President.”
October 29, 2007, 2:49 pm
Filed under: Law & Politics

NYC–how did it go, you ask? Turns out, I didn’t make it to Leif’s brother’s photography opening. Seriously, I’m bummed about that. BUT! I did have a last minute change of plans, which included attending Hillary’s 60th birthday party with one of her over one-hundred party hosts. Amazingly, I sat among a group of people, who included a two-time Oscar winner, one of the foremost New York nightlife producers, one of Hillary’s top fundraisers, a member of the board of the National Stonewall Democrats, and the producers of the Woodstock festivals (1969, 1994, and 1999). The attendees also included, um, the Wallflowers (Jakob Dylan, swoon), Elvis Costello and Billy Crystal. The media has been way into Costello’s song, “Happy Birthday, Mrs. President.” Daddy, Bob Dylan was in the front row, watching his son perform. Bill said a few words. I drunk a few cocktails and attempted to dodge camera flashes (although, in retrospect, I’m not sure why.) Here and below is ABC’s picture of the goings-on.  Here are more pictures of the Birthday Bash at Hillary Happy Hours.

My sweet, handsome host also managed the red carpet at the unofficial after-party–which was held at a private club on 10th Avenue called Marquee Club. Terry MacAuliffe, chair of the campaign, was there. (The official afterparty was at the Russian Tea Room.) I was, to say the least, swept off my feet.  At any rate, NYC baby–never a dull moment.

NOTE: I realize the link I posted above is a Fox News link, but ironically, I thought they had the best coverage. Eh, I’ll give them this one.