Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Favorite IML Moment

The Electrician volunteered to drive me and give me a guided of tour of IML over Memorial Day weekend, and how could I possibly turn down that invitation? The IML (International Mr. Leather) event was the largest gathering of leather men on the planet, and also one of the best open markets for people into leather, things made out of leather, or the kind of stuff that goes with leather. In other words, my kind of shopping mall.

You knew you had entered when walking into the building you were hit first by the sheer overpowering musk of leather, followed by the visual enticement of hundreds of leather men, leather daddies and leather boys in various states of leather dress. There were the guys wearing vests with leather chaps over jeans. There were the guys wearing chest harnesses with leather jeans. There were also the guys wearing leather jock straps with leather caps. And they guys wearing leather jocks and leather masks. In all, there was a lot of leather, and a heaping helping of leather men. Everyone, it seemed, was wearing a leather armband. The leather armband was THE fashion accessory of the season, or at least of any well-to-do leather event.

The Electrician guided me in, down the stairs and through the secret back entrance into the basement of the complex, where I made my donations to the Leather Archive Museum and signed my tax-deductible waiver to get into the event. Another level down, and we were in the holy grail of leather hunting: a leather market that had over 800 vendors all with different types of leather things, and other fun-time accoutrements. I was in heaven.

It was bliss traveling up and down the isles, the overwhelming smell of leather everywhere. Chains and silver pieces hung up as accents as you walked through throngs of men gathered around various toys, contraptions, and leather equipment of all shapes and types. Fascinated and overwhelmed, I found myself having an entirely unexpected emotional response that took a moment to recover from. The Electrician proved to be a spectacular guide, knowing the ins-and-outs and locations of some of the best leather designers to visit.

We worked our way up an aisle and I lagged behind my guide to check out some leather wrist cuffs and leather wallets. Behind me passed all sorts of people, not just men, but a menagerie of enthusiasts out for the odd shopping on the weekend. There were young couples and leather-clad couples, but there were also a number of older, stately looking couples, people one would describe as grandparents, wandering about and genteelly fingering leather floggers as they passed arm in arm. Gay, straight, bi, queer, young, old, if you had an interest in leather, you were welcome, no fetish too strange, lifestyle too bizarre to be denied a space down the aisle at IML.

I meandered back up the aisle to find the Electrician and as I did so, the gentleman coming into view from behind me caught my eye. Easily 6' 2" with the bulging rippled chest of a leather-clad Adonis, he was a sight to see. He embodied the archetypal paintings of the strapping, hulking gay man. Ripped abs, ripped torso, well-muscled thighs bulging under tight leather pants. He had a snug leather chest harness across his burly, hairy chest, the ubiquitous leather strap across the arm, black curly hair under a leather cap, and just enough stubble to polish off the masculine machismo he easily projected. This was not just any leather daddy, this was THE leather daddy.

As I watched him walk away from me (it was hard not to check out the ass on something that spectacular), I noticed skipping toward me a group of young men. They looked like boys really, but all had to be at least 21 (rules to get into the market). They were lithe of step, and springing and bouncing playful down the aisle like kids in a toy store. One was wearing a leather jock and harness, some were in leather pants, and all were clearly enjoying themselves, smiling and giggling as skipped toward me. Leather Daddy eyed them as they came toward us. He stopped and took a deep breath, and then suddenly, and much to my surprise, let out a loud and visceral “Woof!” It was commanding sound, one of power, and one that certainly had an effect on the small crowd of skipping boys.

They all immediately fell down on all fours and began to yip at the feet of Leather Daddy Alpha who stood in the center of them as they moved around him and sniffed and barked backward with a sense of pride and ownership. One or two had small tails clipped to the back of leather pants, and the tails wagged and wiggled as the puppies demonstrated their joy at having found Leather Daddy Alpha. His pack, his puppies; whether they had always been his or he had just claimed them in that moment, I could not say. When he moved again, they all moved and followed after. The puppies were more than happy scampering about on all fours, tails wagging, as they followed Leather Daddy Alpha moving purposefully up the aisles.

It was, without a doubt, a sight to see and one of my favorite crowd moments from IML. I went back on my merry way as the pack moved on, smiling in amusement and looking for the Electrician who promised to be playing with violet wands somewhere ahead of me, in the busy, thriving market.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Illegally Good Music

I had to buy the tickets on Craigslist, which I really hated doing. I had known that I was interested in going to the show when it was first posted, but for some readily unapparent reason I procrastinated just long enough to hit a “sold out” announcement. This forced me to seek out a ticket on Craigslist, which I managed to find. To pick up the ticket I had to enlist the help of Young Kubrick, who engaged in the illicit ticket buying at a local coffee shop.

The ticket purchase went down with all the drama one would expect from buying a scalped ticket. I received a message later that “the deed is done.” I picked the tickets up during the weekend and put them on the Bard’s fridge door; which is where I pulled them down on Monday night as I ran toward the train to get to the Metro on Clark. Happiness!

When I arrived at the door there were a bunch of people standing about outside, which made me wonder if I was too early. I asked one of the prettily dressed Chicagoans if they were waiting to get in “No, we are trying to get tickets.” I smiled and walked in with my specially purchased Craigslist ticket. A few minutes later I was on the floor, looking for a good place to set up on stage.

As I walked up the stairs I noticed a bunch of signs posted to the wall. The signs said “This show includes intense strobe lights.” Immediately my head was filled with strains from the B-52’s singing and hopping around about in strobe lights.

The floor was nice, sloped a bit so people in the back could still see the stage; however, there was also a balcony overlooking the stage. I liked balconies; I liked looking down upon the stage when I knew sold-out shows were going to be packed. I was starting to feel an oncoming clusterphobia that made me want to have less people pressed into my back. By the stage there was already a press of people, and I didn't want to be more pressed. Over the stage, it was also already crowded, but there was a small corner toward the end of the balcony. I made myself at home and waited for the show.

The lights faded out. Blackness fell over us. It was dark.

The crowd thrummed; the crowd was thrumming. I could feel the collected heartbeats of three hundred people all waiting for the same thing. There was the subtle stamping of feet. Red lights on the stage, a red haze; black sheer gauze blowing on the stage in the fans keeping the room cool. She took the stage, a slim lanky blonde. She whispered softly into the microphone “I’m Grimes.” And then hit flashing buttons on her electronic machine.

The machine flashed with orange lights and starts to make the most entrancing electronic music. The solid technical grooves that help the mind to slide away into an ethereal ocean of dancing and moving and subtle smooth hypnosis of groove. I slid off the balcony and into her music; into the swimming drinking, wonderful lovely sounds.

This was a truly wonderful and purely ethereal musical discovery. The sort of lovely happenstance that was so wonderful about going to live shows, the chance to hear something for the first time and be surprised and overcome by something so special and new. Grimes is definitely an artist to watch.

She jumped around the stage, singing and swishing through her grooves, a one-woman musical show. Her machines were well programmed, with backup vocals, loops, drums, chants, and musical knowledge. The crowd was in love with her and we all swished around and lost ourselves as we started to sway with the sounds. She embodied awesomeness; so was lovely that we almost called for an encore, but she was not the show we are all here to see.

We were here to see Lykke Li, Swedish indie-pop singer, and one of the most interesting musical techno-pop artists I’d heard in a while. The stage was draped in black gauze. The floor suddenly were completely dark. The room was in blackness.

And then the strobe lights went off. The pulse into the darkness blinded us all for a moment. There were several quick pulses of bright quick light, blanking out the mind. They stopped and I could still see the trails of the strobe light. The trails stayed with me for a moment and then pulsed on again. The band entered during the black-out period, and then Lykke Li herself was on stage. Draped in pretty black gauze, pulling onto the microphone. She let her voice go. Lykke's lovely ethereal, transcendent voice filled the entire room. What I liked the most about her was that her voice was real. She wasn't singing everything through auto-tune. The voice wasn't coming at us pre-recorded so she could dance along. (She wasn't even a very good dancer.) Her music, her voice, was what she brought to the stage. And she brought it well.

The intense pulsing of the strobe lights moved in rhythm to the music flashing on and off as Lykke swayed on the stage. No dramatic dance routine, no crazy stage antics, just pure singing, beautiful, musical genius. Perfect.

It didn't hurt that the very first song she performed also happened to be one of my favorites off her most recent album. She sang a tight set. The audience stomped and jumped and swirled with her, heartbeat imitated by feet on the floor, thump, thump, thump, sound.

As she hit the encore I gave up my spot to the couple behind me, the girls being happy to get close at last and ran downstairs so I could do my customary merch run, and get out and back for some sleep. I bought a copy of Grimes's CD on my way out the door. As I climbed the stairs to the train it was nothing but Lykke Li, her strobe lights still pulsing behind my eyelids, and the twinkling light of Chicago thrumming to her beat.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sun-Wah: A Taste of Beijing

On the previous weekend the Electrician had invited me out for a dinner at Sun-wah.

“The duck is amazing.”

So, to Sun-wah we would go. Sadly when I got there I soon realized why the duck was amazing and how impossible dinner was going to be. Sun-wah was packed. The place seated 250 people and it had 250 people seated with a line out the door of eager people waiting to get in to eat Beijing-cafeteria style. The place smelled like a cafeteria in Beijing, in fact, and sounded the same. I managed to push through the line to get close enough to the front to put names on the list for dinner, and was told it was an hour wait.

I sent a couple of texts and waited while dinner was rearranged to the more traditional-meet and-greet location. While waiting for a ride I stood and watched as the Chinese chefs pulled roast chicken, pork ribs, and duck down off the hangers from the Chinese-style meat cabinet. They would put the meat out over the chopping block, and expertly, with a large sharp butcher knife, neatly cut through meat and bone. In quick precise movements they would turn a whole chicken into bite-sized bits, ready to go to a table.

I had to eat at this place.

Arrangements were made and the Electrician put in reservations to make getting a table a bit easier and on Rapture Day, I planned to have dinner at Sun-wah.

The Rapture came and went, the only signs of impending doom a game played to the delight of children on the streets. At 7:30 my phone informed me that my ride had arrived and I was off for some eating at Sun-wah.

This time pushing to the front of the line took a few extra minutes. There were several parties there and one very loud and belligerent woman was trying hard to push herself into and her party in. She got snippy when we informed the hostess we were here for the 8:00 reservation. She was still throwing a tantrum when we were escorted to our table. At the table we were given hot tea and menus that were like short Chinese novels. On one side there were regular Chinese dishes, that all reminded me of eating in Beijing or Shanghai. On the other side were the roasted meats. Orders were placed for Peking duck, soy-baked chicken, and fried scallops among other things. The duck, we were informed, would also come with soup and rice.

The place was bustling, that happy Asian-type bustle that I think of whenever eating in busy public places. In Korea, all the Costcos have a kitchen where you can eat. The Koreans will pile in on top of each other to eat the “American” delicacies that are served by the kitchen, which include pizza, meat-top breaded roll things, and hot dogs. It is always busy, and always impossible to find a seat. Sun-wah reminded me of that kind of busy push and shuffle.

The smells were absolutely exquisitely Beijing. The sensory memory of smelling places to eat in China sticks with you for years afterward, so that in any situation in which your olfactory system has an opportunity to encounter it you know immediately that you are in China. As far as my nose was concerned we had just landed in a cafeteria in the Pearl Street market and it was hungry for some eating. It took twenty minutes to finally manage to wrangle a waitperson, and the entire time I had to bite down my Korean-born desire to shout “Yogiyo.” They really need to install buttons, was the other thing I was thinking (the buttons sit on tables and you push them in busy Korean restaurants to let people know you are ready to eat).

Shortly after placing orders, though, we were greeted with soy-roasted chicken. I happily broke into chopsticks and went for it. Juicy was the first thing that came to mind. The next thing that came to mind was Oh my foodgasam. My tongue divorced itself from all my other senses to take a moment of pure and utterly decadent ecstasy that was the roast meat at Sun-wah. Chicken got two thumbs up. A short while later the scallops came, along with some nice dipping sauces, and then the roast duck showed up at the table.

The duck came with a server, who deftly took her large butcher knife and began to carve the bird up as we watched. One has to appreciate the skill demonstrated when someone managed to wield a three-pound steel butcher knife and make it look as if it was an instrument of laser precision while carving up a somewhat difficult bird. She knew exactly what she was doing, and in short order she had carved the meat up and placed it on a plate to serve. Then she wheeled the carcass away. The rest of the meat was carved off the carcass somewhere in a kitchen to be made into soup and fried rice.

The duck was good.

The duck was what one would imagine ambrosia would taste like. The melt-in-your-mouth quality of superbly seasoned and carefully prepared food. It was fabulousness on the end of chopsticks. The soup was actually pretty accurate for a Chinese broth-based soup. It was heavy and had a rich meaty broth and obvious eggs. The heaviness gives it a slightly greasy texture that, while being very authentic, was also not something I really enjoyed. I recalled this from when I was eating something similar in China and it caused sudden allergic issues; this being the case I only had a spoonful. I tasted the rice, but since I don’t eat rice I am not the best critic. The fried scallops, I will mention, were more Sino-American than authentic Chinese; good but heavy on the breading and grease and I would not probably have fried food there again.

We enjoyed sitting and polishing off as much as could possibly be stuffed into our faces before deciding it was time to adjourn, take trips to the washroom, and head on to future destinations.

When I got back to the table to get my things, I smiled at the elderly quartet that was sitting next to us. There was a classy older woman there who reminded me of Gilda Radner, with cute, curly and fluffy white hair, thick red lipstick, and an elegant velvet-and-lace blouse. Their group had also ordered the duck. She leaned over to me and asked me what I thought.

“Lovely, as good as anything I’ve had in Beijing or Shanghai.” I responded.

“You know, when they finished carving up that bird I wondered what they were going to do with the carcass.” She patted the table with her hands and shook her head. “And I said to that young lady, I said, ‘what are you going to do with the carcass? Are you going to leave it here for use to suck on it?’” She shook her head again and looked at me, pointing her finger. “And that young girl she says to me, she says, ‘if you suck on the carcass then you won’t get any rice or soup.’ And then she took that carcass away. But I tell you, now that I know, the next time I’m going to tell them to leave the carcass so we can just suck on those bones.” And she smacked the table again for emphasis. She was adorable and I wanted to take her home with me.

I laughed and agreed that the bird was definitely better than the soup or the fried rice. She told the friend next to her that I had been to China, and we took a few minutes to talk before I disappeared into the warmish spring night full of food, amusement, and a host of memories; a sense of the passage of time released by the scent of a place and memories of a lifetime overseas.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rapture Day

It amuses me just how much people got either worked up or amused about the impending (and now long past) Rapture Day. In case you are living in a cave you may not be aware that Harold Camping of Family Radio predicted that on May 21st, 2011 at six p.m. (apparently six p.m. as it rolled across the world) the Rapture would begin.

I first became aware of Rapture Day after hearing a story on NPR about believers who were giving up their lives and life savings to live as if they had only a few weeks left to live. On top of that there were a lot of people who were apparently taking it upon themselves to stand on street corners, or go around on the internet in a mission to let the world know that the Rapture was coming.

This all seemed pretty ridiculous to me when I first heard it. Especially since the predictor in question had predicted the same thing in 1994 with similar results. While hanging out with the Bard and the Balance we discussed the impending rapture. The Balance lamented that there was not enough time to set up the largest flash mob prank in history.

“We get some colleges on board, like four of them, and have all the students just quietly go to Canada on Saturday.” The Balance said.

We all had a good laugh.

As it were, a few minutes before the Rapture was to hit I was arriving at the Bard’s. As I walked in I noticed a family with some younger children playing and working outside; one of the adults was planting flowers. There was two young girls, both blonde haired, both the most perfect representations of why people like having little girls. They were adorable and very much interested in running around in their sun shirts and shorts, playing with each other as one of the adults sang and planted flowers.

I went into the apartment and put my things down and spoke with the Bard, who was finally overcoming a rather sudden onset of bad-tooth syndrome. As we discussed I went to the window to look down on the children. The Rapture was a mere ten minutes away, were it to arrive as scheduled. From downstairs the gentleman who was working started to sing “It’s the End of the World as we Know It.”

“Those kids are too cute,” I mentioned to the Bard.

“That whole family is cute. You know they were playing “I am the Rapture” earlier?”

“They were what?”

The Bard explained. “Someone must have scared the girls, or maybe it’s just all this crazy media about the Rapture. So they were playing a game. The father would sneak up on the girls and start chanting “I am the Rapture and I’m coming to get you!” with his hands raised above his head. Then he started to chase the girls. They would scream and run and start giggling until he caught someone and then they would start again.”

“'I am the Rapture'? “Seriously?”

“Yep, all day.”

At 6:00 p.m. I had a glass of wine and enjoyed the setting sun on the city of Chicago. The Bard and I talked as I got ready to go out to dinner. From the window we could hear the amused refrain ‘I am the Rapture, and I’m coming to get you’ followed by shrill screams and giggles. The end of the world had come and gone, but hopefully the game would live on.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Muscial Moment

Sometimes, when I am listening to music, I have one of those extra-sensory reactions when something comes on that takes me completely out of whatever it was I was doing and puts me right there inside a song.

Today it was random work-related stuff as I listened to my recently purchased music. The music went on the background and merely supported my brain as it focused in on dotting I’s and crossing T’s. And then, suddenly, my brain totally shifted gears.

“You need some, you want some
You set fire, to auditorium
You come home, you’re all alone
You call your psychic and you want answers.
I got answers, I got answers. “

The lyrics may have been silly, but it was all part of a set piece, a package of musical magic that just pulled me in. Something about the wonderful build of the guitars and the subtle crooning of male lead vocals layered purposefully over the pounding drums and pounding voice. The feeling of being taken over by music came over me. I fell down the most beautiful well of sound and all I wanted to do was listen over and over again to this song that sang to me with it’s excellently selected minor chords and building, painful, powerful crescendos.

I felt the sounds. I wanted to feel the sounds. I could feel them hitting my ears and driving everything else to recognize the impact. I drowned in the most beautiful wall of sound and lost complete track of everything I was doing for the next five minutes as the song would me up and wound me down.

I love that about just the right music for just the right time.

Today that music was MeandJoanCollins "Auditorium", which is sadly not online on YouTube. However this lovely little ditty from MeadJoanCollins is available. It’s good, but not quite the effect that Auditorium had on me.

It's been two weeks since I've seen any live music. I think I'm about due for a show.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Food Trucks

This goes into the category of self reflection that may be painful for some. Feel free to skip it. ~Sara


NPR had been talking for days on end about food trucks. Food trucks, these big steel rigs with sides that raised and lowered. Men, usually, manned these trucks serving up food to people in downtown areas. This was apparently some great big new trend and everyone was trying to figure out how it worked. People were enamored with the idea of the food truck. The most popular kind, being mostly in California, were Mexican/Korean-fusion taco trucks. This amuses the hell out of me.

I grew up with a food truck.

The way in which I interact with these stories on NPR is with a sense of fascination, horror, and revulsion. The part of me that is fascinated is the part that grew up with the food trucks. There is the little girl that thinks it is about time that these trucks have become so popular. She thinks about her father getting up at three in the morning to pack up the food. The food was what it was called. It was called the food because I made the food. I made the food with my sister. Together we would make the food. There were three types of food. The biscuits were one type of food. Then there was the hot food and the cold food. I was responsible for the hot food and the cold food. For a while it was a daily chore until we learned ways to do most of the food on the weekend with the aid of a freezer.

The food was just a chore. Standing over the oven for hours, making hundreds of hamburgers, steaks, fried bologna, pizza rolls. This was just what I had to be done. It was the food. The food would go on the truck. The food would be sold. The selling of the food would keep us all in our own food and give us whatever opportunities it was we were looking for.

I look back at this time with a surprising lack of feeling, but when I hear people talk about food trucks I can’t help to think of it with some sort of fondness, a fascination.

Then the horror. The horror of this chore thrust upon children who continued to perpetuate the construction of the food. The horror of being trapped in this factory work mode of food construction which fell both inside and outside the realm of child labor. The realization that it many ways this was the worst kind of slavery. The horror being how much a part of my growing life it was. How I tacitly accepted it, and how I could do the food some weeks with a sense of pride, and others with a sense of absolute depression. I was eight when I started making the food. It continued for ten years.

The revulsion? The revulsion may be hard to understand. The revulsion is this self-doubting, self-destroying, self-loathing that is instilled with food. The revulsion is the root of my personal doubt. The revulsion is where I have to acknowledge that my desire to achieve, to be praised, to feel worthy at all comes from food. Food was responsible for how I viewed my interaction with my father. Good food meant I was loved, that I had succeeded, that I had gone beyond somehow and demonstrated that I was worthy of affection. Bad food meant that I was a horrible spoiled girl, not worthy of attention or affection. Bad food meant that I was a burden who did nothing to redeem herself and her worthlessness.

I loved the food.

I hated the food.

The truck, this big steel monstrosity that would be filled with hot food and cold food, ran Monday through Friday. It brought food to those who had no real options for breakfast or lunch. I often would sit in the cab of the truck on summer days off and watch as my father sold the food. He brought the food to the local factory that employed adults with special needs. These adults with all their various social problems, their mental and physical disabilities, loved my father. They loved the food. They loved to come to the truck and spend their meager funds on the food. They were happy to interact.

The factory workers who couldn’t leave the mill loved the food. It was hearty food and they felt better for it. They often joked about stealing the chefs away from my father and making them brides. The office workers that could come down to shop at the truck loved the food. They loved the food and the jovial personality that sold it.

When I would ride in the front of the cab with my father, I would occasionally interact, but I did the ride around to be with my father, to have a moment with him. When he sold the food I would be filled with that essential worth, the fascination of how my life affected others and brought something worthwhile. It made it possible to continue to work, to make the food.

The horror, the revulsion, were there too. The horror that my life may be worth nothing but this food in a steel truck. The revulsion that this was all I could do.

I heard the stories of the food trucks on NPR and I couldn't help listening. It brought up a rush of feelings and rational or irrational thoughts.The stories brought specially selected horror and revulsion. In the end I hope the food trucks succeeded, as long as I didn't have to work with them ever again.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


It starts like fingers pinching your muscles just below the skin, and then goes deeper. Knobs turned up and slowly deeper until you have the sense of having a massage being delivered just under the surface of your skin. This is the electricity moving under the surface working out tension, working out pain, and bring forward the most comfortable sense of relaxation.

Under the sway of a thrumming, beating, electric groove, eyes close and the body thrums with timed thrumming and vibrations. Electricity moves up and down in waves, filling muscles and thrumming under skin. The muscles are eased by a kind of massage that the fingers cannot provide.

It is a swirling swell of electric vibration. Molecules speed up and moving more quickly toward outburst.

A hill. At the bottom of the hill is light thrumming. Light at first, but it builds. The hill goes higher, the pulsing light goes higher. Everything moves faster and faster, closer to the top of the hill, closer to the sunburst on the other side. The sunburst is the goal, that attainment of perfect light, wash of awareness and joy and fulfillment have having accomplished. Closer to cresting the hill and suddenly the bottom drops out, and there again is the bottom of the hill and the sunburst is so far away.

Up the hill again.

Music starts to play. The music becomes the pace of hills and gullies. Music with dark thrumming beats that punctuated by sharp syncopated rhythms, music that builds toward a crescendo, the sunburst, closer. Running, running on the hill, reaching for the sunburst and…the music dies down and starts again.

Suspended on vibrations of electricity under the skin, hours spent searching without distraction for a glowing feeling that represents glowing light.

Electricity is how I spent my Saturday night.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Burlesque Bake Sale

Tendrils of music were still flitting through my head as I jumped into a cab to head for the Green Door Tavern. where a number of very strange and altogether left-of-normal people would be gathered for the Burlesque Bake Sale. This Bake Sale was an event by the local area Chicago Burners to raise money for Burner projects in the Chicago area. Specifically it was run by the Bold Urban Renaissance Network NFP, or BURN for short. Among other things funds from these events went to supporting grants for artists and performers who could use the extra cash. (You can find out all sorts of things about them and their fantastic projects at either http://www.boldurban.org or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/boldurban.)

As I got out of the cab I admired the big and gaudy sign that signified the entrance to the Green Door. As I walked in I was sure that I had somehow managed to go to the entirely wrong place. I checked the address and knew I was where I was told to go, but it just seemed so…normal.

It was overwhelming normal, far too normal for me to really trust that I was in the right place. There were a number of girls that looked like just-out-of-college cheerleaders in cami tops and short-shorts. Beside the girls were a series of men, all with short-cropped hair, polo shirts or striped button-down shirts and half cargo shorts. The smell of the place was that overwhelmingly alcoholic stain of high-end perfumes, the smell that made them all smell alike, even though individually they cost a hundred dollars a bottle. It just felt wrong.

I was sure I was in the wrong place.

I started heading toward the back, thinking there must be a secret door, or secret room, I was feeling a bit out of me-league, surrounded by so many obviously normal people. And then I saw her, my dancing partner from the Firewater lounge, looking lovely in a flowing skirt.

“Thanks the gods,” I said to her as we met.

“Hey, you made it.”

“Yes, where is it? I feel like I’m lost.”

“Just go downstairs; it’s in the basement.”

She pointed out the direction so I find myself down the stairs, and like Alice down the rabbit hole, suddenly the world made sense again. I was greeted by a jester in a cowboy hat, and Krueger, who took admission and told me to go buy some baked goods. I walked into a room full of the most wonderful collection of people. Girls in tight corsets, steampunks, regular punks, Goths, freaks, all of them; I was surrounded from left to right by a throng of the most wonderfully unique and individual people. Onstage a girl was performing her burlesque out, starting out as a Mexican cowboy. We laughed as she removed her boots to take off her jeans, revealing red fishnet stockings. We laughed harder when she nodded at the audience as she put her boots back on.

At the bake sale there were so many tantalizing goodies to eat, but I had to be aware of the fact that a) I was not supposed to eat flour, b) I was not supposed to eat too much sugar, c) I was allergic to milk, and d) I was allergic to eggs. The last made me very wary of baked goods, as they tended to always contain more than a fair share of eggs and milk. I gave the lovely goth girl in a black corset with purple dreads a breakdown of what I couldn’t have, and she directed me to some vegan balls.

“Just what I needed tonight,” I quipped back, “a bag of balls.”

“Actually you get three.”

“That gives me a ball up on the competition.” My dancing partner laughed. I asked her where I could get a drink and she directed me toward the bar upstairs, which required us going back up to normal land. We ventured up the stairs, through the throngs of people there to talk about sports and look for random casual hookups. Dancing girl accompanied me as we put in for some drinks and got back out as quickly as possible.

Downstairs we grabbed seats for the next round of burlesque that included (among other things) a great performance with a hula-hoop, the wonderfully classy Feral Kitty, an amazingly nice strip tease done under sort of sheer see-through cover up. While this was all going on, it was also morning in Korea (prime time for conversation). As it happened the Irish popped up on the phone having some extreme stress and, being that I am a good friend I felt obligated to discuss with him the particular stress. However, discussing the stress with him also meant not watching the stage.

I do believe at least one of the girls took some offense at having me looking at my phone because suddenly I had a whole lot of bra in my face. This was followed later by panties. Dancing girl started laughing. I tried to explain to her, and while doing so got pelted by another piece of underwear. With all that happening I was finally forced to tell the Irish Look I have to go, I keep getting pelted by women’s underwear.

In between the acts there was also an auction of the baked goods and some excellent performances by our master of ceremonies at the keyboard, with a great deal of help from his lovely assistant Sin. In all a good time was most certainly had. The sweet-potato cheesecake was auctioned off for $40, and the nipple red-velvet cupcakes were also popular. There was an all-out bidding war for the bacon-laced maple-and-onion cupcakes. (Which sounded delicious I’m sure, but also weird.)

As the show wound down, decisions were made about eventual after-parties, Dancing girl took my arm and asked me if I would car to join her. I took the offered hand and happily followed her into the chilly Chicago night and out for more adventures.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Peter, Bjorn and John

I have not been to an all-ages show in Chicago. What stands out to me about all-ages shows is the number of very young what seem like tweens. Granted, I suspect some of them were a bit older, but many were definitely under eighteen. The press of the crowd and the presence of the children made me slightly uncomfortable enjoying my double tequila.

The first band up was Bachelorette. She did an admirable job with the music, electronic rhythmic dance noise. Everyone moved and swayed as she played, with a glittering laser light show in the background. The music bordered on pop trance, and while interesting, the overall effect was one of having either heard that before, or feeling it was too passed through a machine to be significantly real.

As she left I moved toward the stage so I could be as close as front-row center as I could be for Peter, Bjorn, and John. I rather love PB&J, though "Young Folks", that ubiquitous whistling song from 2006 is not my favorite song from the group. I’m rather fond of the entire Writer’s Block album, most particularly "Objects of My Affection". That album certainly helped to keep me focused and helped me through a rough part of 2008.

That stage was set with three thumbs pointing high into the air, sticking out and announcing that soon we would be experiencing PB&J in all their glory. Along the ceiling were strings of light bulbs. The tweens talked and chatted with themselves. In front of me were some college students drinking beer. One would turn at every group of girls he saw enter and chat them up. He wore a black hoodie with silver wings. It was a statement.

He turned to the girls in front of me and said “I hope you don’t mind if I rock out. I’m going to rock out. I just, I hope you don’t mind if I rock out.”

“That seems cool,” one of the girls replied.

“I really don’t care what you think,” he replied. His friend turned to him and said, “Yeah, you wore that out of the house tonight; you obviously don’t care what anyone thinks.”

I smirked, amused, and he turned to me.

“What are you into?” he asked.


“History? Yeah, that’s cool. I really wish more people knew history. Or at least, you know, American people. We really don’t know enough about history. But that’s cool.”

I smiled.

“What do you study at university?”

“I studied philosophy.”

“Oh, wow, yeah, that’s deep, yeah. In the city now?”

“Yes, in the city. When I was in school.”

“Oh.” I watched it dawn on him that I was not a student at whatever university he suspected everyone from town must be in. He turned and looked toward the stage, and did not look back at me for the rest of the night.

I knew I had just isolated myself in the group, and at the same time I didn't mind. I was here for the music.

The band walked on stage and the audience lit up and screamed. Peter is clean cut in a suit, Bjorn scruffy in his leather jacket, and John looks like a lumberjack sitting behind the drums. They started to play.

Their music is something I would say you either like or don’t. "Young Folks" is not indicative of the style. Peter, as a vocalist is cheerful and happy. He jumps around the stage riling up the audience and getting everyone to clap hands and join in with his antics. He is jovial and light and the crowd loves him. He jumps off the stage, touches the hands of the adoring fan. He works the crowd and they love him for it. They respond with hands outstretched and open arms and grabbing. They love him.

Bjorn is different, reserved. He holds back with his guitar. He is like slick and fury as he strums the strings. I find myself more interested in watching him than Peter. When he takes the lead and sings is when he completely captures me. I have this theory about singers. Some singers sing like they are working. They sing because it is what they want to do, to be sure, but it’s a job. They do it like a job. They work the audience, they have fun, they are good, but they are working. This was the sense I had when watching the Rural Alberta Advantage. Nils Edenloff sang like he was working. Peter sings like he is working. Bjorn, though, is Bjorn.

Bjorn sings like he is making love to the microphone, like he is casting his voice out in a wide net to enrapture and sexualize the entire audience. His body moves with his fingers as he plays the guitar and sings. His hands move, his hips move, he is like a shimmering beacon of musical joy, love, passion, desire, all being poured out on stage. Sweat beads and drips from his hair as he sings and thrusts into the microphone. He is fantastic, magical, his music is magical. He sings because he is passionate about singing, because he wants to be singing, because he needs to be singing. He doesn’t work for it, he is it, he is this thing he needs to be and it is fantastic, genius, and beautiful. I fall into his lyrics and disappear on his voice, moving with his song, chanting along with all the little tweens and the rest of the audience, getting lost in the power and passion of it.

The crowd moved like a throng after Bjorn’s song. we worked and moved together; we reached out; someone somewhere stripped off her bra and threw in on stage. We laughed and gyrated along as they sang. When finally Peter jumped on top of the speaker over my head to whistle out the refrain from "Young Folks", we all reacted as if by magical command. And we didn’t care about the young folks, or any other folks right then.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Rêve: Hope, Dream

On the train I looked out the windows at the wild passing Midwestern suburbia. I found music to listen to and dove back into the book that I had been reading. While it had been a slow start, the words began to catch me and I was now interested in seeing exactly what the outcome of this little tale would be.

There are three men, all Gen-X; they all live somewhere in Oregon. The story is not supernatural, or mysterious, or driving with suspense. It is instead a human story. I like human stories. It is real. Reading it is in many ways like reading life take place. These are stories that are not written often enough. When they are written and done well they are a pleasure to read.

Reading the story helped me block out distractions of traveling. I was caught up in the small decisions that characters make. I laughed out loud as we pulled into the station and I exited, walking through Chicago, feeling out of my head. The sign of a truly good story is one that pushes you out of your own mind so that you are wrapped up in what is happening with the characters on the page. As I walked I got up to the subway, and as soon as I knew I was out of danger I pulled my book back out and began to read again.

I read as I stepped on the train pulling into the station.

I read for the next six stops, looking up and thinking that my stop was coming up soon.

As I looked up I realized I was on the wrong train. I was so caught up in the stories of others that I had completely failed to register that the train I was on was not the one I was meant to be on. So I exited on the waiting platform, headed down to city level, paid again, walked back up the other side and waited for the train in the opposite direction so I could go back to a transfer point.

While waiting I read. I took my book back out, and the wait went quickly enough. On the train I stayed engrossed in the story, keeping a mild eye out to make sure I didn't miss the transfer station. As I disembarked, I crossed over the tracks, putting my book away with reluctance so I can pay attention to my steps. I miss walking and reading, but doing so over open “El” lines is foolish.

On the far platform waiting for the train in the other direction I continued to read. The all-too-human foibles of the characters kept me in entertained amusement. As I approached my final stop I exited the train with my book in hand.

I must make the decision now to stop reading. However, at this point I have also hit a moment of high drama, a letter from a girlfriend to her boyfriend. And I realize that I cannot wait until after dinner. That I need to know right now what is going to be said. I walked to find a small out-of-the-way place on the busy Chicago platform so that I can finish reading the pages I’m caught up in. Commuters walked around me; one bumped into my bag, someone took me in and shook their head, but I held my little corner and finished the final sentences.

When I finished, I shut off my book and slipped it back into my bag. The sun was setting over the city, and I watched from the platform as the sky lit up with purple, pink, and orange streaks over high-rising buildings, and a multitude of late-night commuters. In my head was the tail end of a letter outlining pain for both the writer and the reader; the thoughts conveyed blend perfectly with the tendrils of fading light in the city.

If you have time and need a good book to read, then you should check out this one. It certainly side-tracked my own evening:

Reve, by Tim Harnett

"Set in the town of Path's End, Oregon, "Rêve" follows three friends,
David, Iago, and Tyler, as they meet and pursue Iris, a pretty young
coed. Except that Tyler is Iris's professor, Iago is a chauvinist, and
David is already in a relationship. From the author of "Trompe L'oeil."
comes a painfully honest look at friendships, relationships, and how
those relationships end."

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Feedblitz will be Terminated

This is just to let you know that Feedblitz has turned into a for-pay service. I don't see why anyone should have to pay for RSS feeds. Silliness.

So I'm going to be killing the Feedblitz account tomorrow. If you are out there reading and a Feedblitz subscriber you can switch over to another RSS feed. Here is the RSS link for the blog:


You can still get email service through Feedburner, which is at: http://feeds.feedburner.com/~fc/Saradevil?bg=FF99FF&fg=444444&anim=0

Granted, I'm probably the only person who reads this thing anyway. I'm so full of myself. However, my narcissism knows no bounds, so do feel free to subscribe through a non-pay service.



Wednesday, May 04, 2011

A Taste of New York City

This is the contest entry that was read at Whistler's as part of the CWHC Erotic Fiction Contest


I sat at the bar, late night, the last Friday night in New York. It was quiet; the music played; the bartender and I discussed wine. New York had been oppressive. I could not recall ever feeling so alone in such a large city. Without trying I was isolated constantly.

I sat at the bar. I ordered a bottle of wine, trying to console myself, to celebrate being able to flee the big unfriendly town.

She walked in and sat next to me. She was all bright red lipstick and dark hair, sun kissed skin, big warm eyes. I offered her a glass from my bottle and we began to talk.

There was sunshine in her smile, in her smell, and I couldn't help notice that I sat closer to her without meaning to. I wondered why she would want to be so close to me, so near me, but as the wine warmed me up and soothed the nerves that have been on edge for weeks I found her charm enticing, alluring, memorizing. She touched my hand sending those sunny vibrations through the air, through my arm, through my mind.

I touched her back. Warm skin, warm hand under mine. The conversation was friendly with a touch of darkness, sharing. Real conversation in a quiet warm bar, conversation that wasn't just small talk with a bartender trying to make a tip. The summer evening around us buzzed low key. I reflected on the city's sudden intensity in my conversation with her.

I was enchanted.

I offered to walk her home as the bottle finished. She said it's not too far. On this late night walk I noticed the city. The lights, the enchantment. I felt like I could suddenly understand what fascination it held for so many people. I found myself holding on to her as we walk. It’s her, I thought. She is New York city and enchantment.

I walked her up to her apartment. We stood by a window and looked out on the view. New York, her slice of it, a slice I can appreciate. The buildings twinkled into the distance, an abundance of color and flashing light. I watched the cars move below. I felt her standing next to me. Aware of her, her breathing, her hand at her side so close to mine. I wanted to turn, and I was afraid to turn.

Was I being foolish?

Was she really interested in my being here, in the thought of our hips entwined?

Or was I just a nice girl giving a nice girl a walk home in the big bad city?

She stood next to me and we looked out over New York. The city glittered beyond the window. She stood there. She said something. I looked at her.

All I could think about was my desire for her.

I looked at her, into her, into her sweet red lips. She tasted like wine. Our shadows were on the window like wine-tinted stains, blending together into a puddle to block out the city. Her lips are red. Her hands are warm. I wanted to lose myself in her, in the scent of her, in the sweet taste of her.

I kissed her back and took only a moment to be flip, to air my self-doubt, to wonder if she was being sincere. And she smirked and smiled, and pulled my shirt off of me, taking my hand and leading me to her big bed as she disrobed me.

I wanted to be in control. I wanted to lose control in her. We paced each other, trying to disrobe each other with speed, with surety. Who would win, who would lose? She won.

I lay naked as she kneeled above me. As she kneeled into me, as her lips and her mouth found me, as I thrust against her lips, as I warmed into her mouth, her tongue, her fingers, the pulse of her, the sweet fast pace, bringing me shaking, wet, wanting, over and over again. Her mouth was the compass, steering in a direction my body wanted to go. Her finger probed deep and I could feel myself close to the surface, release, solace, wanting, desire, abandonment, fulfillment. In a moment I was nothing and everything on her tongue.

A month of pain and anguish and sorrow washed away in a sweet moment of her lips working over me. I came, again and again, finally begging her to stop. We struggle, never a fight, a minor wrestle, I wanted her. I wanted to taste her, to lap at her the way she had at me. She fought me, wanting to keep me pinned on my back.

It had been so long since anyone desired me as strongly as I desired them.

She was sweet on my lips. She was everything I desired. She came faster than I did, but this didn't upset me. The wake of her body’s spasms against the bed, her fingers in my hair, her knees playing my cheeks, her wet, soft flesh. My fingers, her mouth, my breath, her soft breasts, we rolled over and over again, a cascade. Lost, found, desire, ending and beginning.

I drank deep from her lovely wine-tasting mouth. I sated myself on her and sleep. And I awoke wanting her more in the morning.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Erotic Fiction Contest

The Chicago Women’s Health Center was having an erotic fiction contest, so I decided to enter. I love the CWHC. If it had not been for the CWHC and Shimer College I’m not sure I would have made it past the summer of 1997. That was the summer my ovaries almost killed me, which resulted in the fall of classes I attended with staples in my stomach, while having hospice care administered to me by a good friend. Between the CWHC, Shimer, and good friends I made it through the end of the year, and went on to do whatever it is that I have done with my life.

A little about the CWHC. The CWHC believes in non-oppressive services for woman and trans-people in the Chicago area. They are not government funded in any way. They work on a sliding-scale basis and they will not turn you away if you have no money to pay. They do sex education, OB-Gyn services, women’s health services, and insemination alternatives.

All around they are wonderful and I love them and think that any woman in Chicago or the surrounding areas should take the time to go and see if you need assistance, because they will very much be there to help you. I was there for a visit when I found out they would be having an erotic fiction contest, and I was not sure if I could allow that sort of thing to happen in the city of Chicago without at least taking the time to try to enter.

I sent an email to contest organizers, but didn’t hear back. Mostly I had wanted to know about little things like word count, formatting guidelines, and just what kind of erotic, as goodness knows there is a plethora in the genre. Could it be flagrantly vulgar, or should it be restrained? Was there a preference for location? A specific topic or theme? When you are going to put something into any kind of fiction contest it is nice to have a sense of what exactly the rules for the contest are, and maybe being a writer I’m just a little more paranoids than others about the type of rules and constraints that get placed on projects. Maybe I am a little too constrained by projects.

On the Tuesday before the contest I get a note that says if I submit my story, no more than two pages in length, by Wednesday night, then they would read it at the fiction contest.

This did not give me much time, but I put together a story for the contest (granted that story was possibly more fact than fiction), sent it in, and made plans to be at the right bar at the right time for the reading on Thursday evening.

The place to be was the Whistler, over in Logan’s Square. I boarded all the proper trains, made the right connections, and decided to skip dinner to be at the reading on time. The Whistlers is one of those storefront bars that just blends straight into the background. If you aren’t looking for it you probably won’t find it. From the outside it looks like an abandoned store, but once you cross inside you are in a small little speakeasy that feels like a prohibition bar. It’s tiny, with everyone crowded in at small tables with dim candles. The bar is busy and hopping, getting drinks out to patrons who are standing around and ordering. A few girls walked around with bags and raffle tickets and I suspected these were the CWHC girls who have organized the event.

I ordered a glass of wine and waited to see what exactly it was I should do, when I noticed someone else going up to a person with a clipboard and saying they are here, a writer for one of the stories. I follow suit, give a large donation to the CWHC, and ask if there is anything in particular I need to do.

“No, but thanks so much for coming.”

“Do I need to read the story?”

The girl I asked is a bubbly red head, with a flashing smile, and the primary organizer of the event. She smiled at me as she shook her head. “No, see, I forgot to print it so I am going to be reading it from my phone.”

“Oh. I do have my computer if you’d like to read from that?”

“No, I think it is funny to read it from my phone. Is that okay?”

“Yes, do I need to read it?” I was confused on this point, as I assumed we would read our own work unless someone volunteered, but slowly and through the subtle osmosis that is communicating in English I began to understand that what she was saying was that everyone would have the work read by a volunteer. I smiled, realizing now and told her it would be no problem if she read it from the phone and went to find a place that would be slightly less crowded for the reading.

I did my part by buying drinks and some raffle tickets. The Whistler was donating part of the bar to the CWHC. The raffle tickets were for several different types of goody bags, including one from Early to Bed, the best women’s owned sex shop in the city of Chicago.

The bar was too crowded; even on the cold Chicago even it had the warm humid jungle feel of a city bar in the summer. Maybe it was the collective anticipation of the pornography we were all tacitly supporting by being there. The press of people was omnipresent, and as the show began I could find no single place to stand and watch the stage.

A local comedian who was familiar with the CWHC was the MC for the night, and she told horrible stories from her own personal life to entertain us when there were no stories to read. She told one of how she accidentally was a lesbian for a semester at college, when she was going on regular dates with a lesbian in her class without realizing that, they were, in fact dating until the girl in question suggested taking their relationship to the next level. The crowd warmed with her self-deprecating humor and casual charm, as she worked the crowd between stories and raffle drawings.

The first story of the night was a short piece, a nice straight story about sex on a picnic. The audience oohed and ahhed at the appropriate mentions of cocks and valleys down below. I sipped my drink and clapped with everyone while the first lottery went up. As the crowd was entertained by our comedian and encouraged to by more raffle tickets I got back in line for a drink.

And it was as I ordered heard the title of my story.

“A Taste of New York City.”

I said to the bartender, “One more red, please.” The bartender said, sure.

On the stage she begins to read: “I sat at the bar, late night, the last Friday night in New York. It was quiet, the music played, the bartender and I discussed wine.” And as she continued to read I found myself frozen. I heard the bartenders laughing at my descriptions of the lonely passage of time in a bar.

The bubbly redhead took her time with the reading, drawing out the right words, hanging on the right passages, and I felt exposed while being pressed entirely around on all sides by so many people. This sort of vague terror of being on display and being judged by so many people as my story was read. I breathed in and out, ashamed of the glass of wine in my hand, suddenly as if it would identify me and point me out to everyone; like a sign in my hand saying here is the author, over here. Why fear? I processed this as I was caught up in it, and I realized it was because I had no comrades here to cheer me on. I was alone in the bar, isolated and exposed, while strangers who do not know how I am listened to this semi-private exposition of myself on stage.

Knowing that people read what you write is the ultimate act of acceptable exhibitionism. I lavish in knowing that what I write is being read, whorish in my desire to know that somewhere out there someone is reading and experiencing and emotion from something I said, or something I remembered, or something I did. At the same time I am ashamed by the utter self-indulgence of it; in the bar I stood there and listened, to afraid to turn to the stage and watch the speaker, but taking my own satisfaction in inflicting my words on this crowded room.

She read from the stage: “My fingers, her mouth, my breath, her soft breasts, we roll over and over again, a cascade. Lost, found, desire, ending and beginning.”

The story came to an end. The audience clapped. The raffle went on. My heartbeat started to quiet itself. I list the raffles, but I bought another glass of wine and listened to the stories, reveling in the exhibitionism of the other writers.

There was a story of naughty lesbian nuns. There was a story about vampires and as it is read the bar grows noisy, and we all sort of acknowledged together that, really, vampire sex is boring. There was a story written in second person, so much you, you, you. There was a story about another picnic, this one full opulent vulgarity of Americans, including liquid nacho cheese, deer, pulsing members, feted love valleys. It was the sort of thing that was such a train wreck you could not stop listening, even while you were cringing in terror at bacon grease being lavished across the lovers' breasts. As it finished I knew it would win. It was the right kind of story for the time, funny, with a subtle message buried under the bacon dripping. There was an office story about the semi-submissive female executive finally dominating her overbearing boss that included a surprise twist ending. Altogether a short collection of stories, but all well written and interesting, amusing, and just the kind of titillating that we could all enjoy.

I knew I would not win anything, but was happy to have been a part. In the end the second-person story took third, the office story second, and first place went to the American Picnic story. As the final prize was passed out I checked the time and decided this would be a good time to make a dash, since I wanted to catch a late train home.

Before leaving I ducked into the bathroom quickly. Two girls came a few seconds after I had disappeared out of the way. They talked about the night, as girls do when we go to a bathroom. It doesn’t matter what is required by nature, if we can we will continue to discuss things.

The girls talked about their friends, happy they had won the contests. I was getting ready to flush as I finished straightening myself out when I heard one girl say:

“I was a little surprised that the New York story didn’t place.”

“Which one?”

“The one about the lesbians in New York. I’m surprised it didn’t place. I really thought it was probably the best written story.”

“Oh, yeah, I remember that one. It was all right.”

“Anyway, I thought it should have placed. What did you think of Laurie’s story?”

The girls continued to talk as they washed their hands and disappeared back into the bar.

I left, heading back into the cold Chicago night. The city felt empty after the bar, and I enjoyed how I filled it up as I walked.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

These are the Mediums

At 9:56 I saw a ping in my twitter feed that made no sense, something about Obama saying “Mission Accomplished Boyah” and I was confused.

Granted, when you think about it the words twitter feed would have made absolutely no sense in 2001 either.

A minute later the Boy asked if I saw the news.

“What news?”

“Osama bin Laden is dead.”


Two seconds later I was running around the house in a bathrobe, naked as the day I was born underneath, trying to find my phone cord to plug it in to call the Bard. By the time I got the power up there was a text message from her to me about the news.

I called her anyway.

“ I know,” she answered. “I’m watching it right now on CNN.”

“Right. I’m trying to get a live feed of some news service.” I hung up and regretted not having any basic cable service.

I posted a status update to my Facebook page: This is going to be one of those hours that we collectively remember.

Within seconds it had been liked by someone I had not seen in person since 2006.

A minute later I was online on messenger with the Crow:

saradevil: are you watching the news?

crow: I'm listening to CBS news as we speak

crow: the jingoism I'm hearing is terrifying.

As we talked I sent messages to the Irish, contemplating calling Korea to get him on the phone.

Seconds later I got a message from him.

saradevil: News Irish, new!!!!

saradevil: news.

saradevil: Osama bin laden is dead.

saradevil: Obama to be on live t.v. Jesus I was about to call you.

Irish: confirmed

Irish: ??

Irish: they have the body?

saradevil: About to be.

saradevil: Obama has the body.

saradevil: I think they are going to be showing it on live t.v.

Irish: wow

While the talk continued I manage to find MSNBC online, but I could barely stand the coverage. The crazy recaps of bin Laden’s life were painful to watch, as were the shots of crowds gathering outside the White House. The Crow told me to check Al Jazeera online live, but I couldn't get the live feed to work.

The Boy said, “Try their YouTube feed, it’s better.” A second later a messenger window opened on my computer with a link to the Al Jazeera YouTube feed: http://www.youtube.com/aljazeeraenglish

It was 10:21.

I was talking to the Boy, Irish and Crow in Korea, and listening to the English feed from Al Jazeera. At 10:49 Obama walked onscreen. I watched the live feed on YouTube; the boy came to sit next to me. Gracey the large black dog wandered over to sit with her head in our laps, assuming that this was the place to be.

The Boy and I hunched over my mini-computer as we listened to Obama’s speech. While we listened the One pops online and asks me how I am doing.

While Obama speaks I typed to her:

saradevil: you watching the news?

one: no

one: whats up

saradevil: Osama bin laden is dead.

saradevil: Obama is on right now talking about it.

saradevil: Tactical strike in Abidabad pakistan today, body is in hand.

saradevil: It's official.

one: thats unexpected but hopefully heartening.

We continued to talk as the Boy and I listened. As Obama closed off and walk away, the Boy and I talked, and then I returned to discussing the events with the Crow while trying not to cringe at the Americans as they rolled across the screen.

I watched as the internet lit up. The Crow pointed out people running a #freaky on twitter about the coincidence between Hitler’s death and Osama’s.

I told this to the Boy, who said he was more impressed by this being the 8-year anniversary of the legendary Mission Accomplished banner.

It was also Beltane.

It was also Labor Day.

There are a lot of coincidences.

It was 11:20 p.m. and I thought about the event, but more so I thought about how we were all experiencing the event. How quickly this news traveled. How I was the person who alerted two of my close friends in another country, on another continent. I watched as the twitter feeds lit up with various messages, I listened online, I chatted with friends, I followed the story. I experienced this entire event in real time in a virtual medium.

11:41 p.m. I finished up, got ready to go to bed. I checked my email, and I read a book on my electronic e-reader while listening to the BBC coverage on my internet radio.

This is the kind of moment that defines a generation. This is the kind of medium that defines a generation.

11:45 p.m. I posted my blog.


Four a.m.

Kubrick calls it the “Gay Devastation.” This is where gay men go in Chicago when they have let go of hope of finding comfort or mutual contact in the arms of a lover or a stranger. When the gay man has become truly devastated after hours and hours in a club he comes to eat.

Four a.m.

Clark’s on Belmont.

Kubrick calls it the Gay Devastation.

A cute red-headed waiter sashayed over, flirt and confidence in his set. Sin, Krueger and Kubrick ordered eggs. I got French toast, ignoring the fact that even that small amount of egg would cause me trouble later.

“What was in that shot?” I asked Krueger.


“What exactly is firewater?”

“Grappa. It’s a leftover when we make wine. It’s like 100

“Of course.”

“So did you enjoy the dancer?”

I vaguely recalled the dancer and the dance. I turned to Kubrick.

“Who was that girl?”

“Which one?”

“The one that was all over you?”

“Oh, her. Yeah, she was really into me, and I tried to explain to her that I was gay but she didn’t seem to be getting the picture at all. Also, men are weird.”

“Men are weird?”

“Yes, apparently straight men have some sort of code that I was not aware of?”

“How so?”

“Well, while I was dancing with the cute blonde you saw me with, a guy comes over and nudges my arm, like this,” Kubrick slid his arm up against mine, bumping elbows with me and giving me meaningful eyes while raising eyebrows.

“I thought he might be trying to pick me up so after the song ended I went and found him and tried chatting him up. He was very confused, and I told him I thought he was into me after the whole nudge thing on the dance floor.”

“Well, apparently, as he explained it, it was just his way of congratulating me.”


“For dancing with such a hot girl, he felt I needed to be congratulated so he came up to me while I was dancing and did the arm nudge thing.”

“That is weird.”

“That’s what I thought.”

The cute waiter brought us our breakfasts and spread his pretty lithe arms wide, and asked in the best breathy Mae West tones, “Is there ANYTHING else I can get you?”

Both Kubrick and I gave him a look up and down before sending him off. However we were both smitten with this attractive, boyish charm of a lovely waiter.

“You should ask him out.” I said to Kubrick. Or maybe I thought it; either way I had a plan. Since Sin and Krueger were so kind as to give us a ride home, I insisted on paying for the breakfast. I signalled to our sugary sweet waiter and he sashayed his hips back toward us.

“And what can I do for you?” he asked again, all open arms and eyes for Kubrick.

“I’d like the check please. Also, on top of the check I would like your phone number. Your phone number being on the check is going to be very important. It will very much affect your tip. So do be a doll and bring that back.” I said to him.

“Oh, yes ma’am.” He said to me and sashayed away. He returned a few minutes later with a check, his phone number right where it should be, and we left a large tip, Krueger smiling his devil’s smile as we worked our way back out to the car and to our homes. When Kubrick and I got in we looked
for the dog who we had abandoned so much earlier in the night, but he was gone, nowhere to be found. Obviously still mad at us for going out instead of staying home with him.

“You should send that nice waiter a message.”

“On it,” Kubrick said.

We both got large glasses of water and passed out into separate beds.

The dog came out around 8 a.m. to wake me up and judge me. I
awoke with a hangover to beat the band, a “like” sticker on my chest, a
throbbing in my stomach where food used to be, vague remembrances of an
evening, and a dying curiosity to find out what happened with Kubrick and the