Thursday, April 30, 2009


So, for all intents and purposes, I have officially closed the chapter of Gaskill Street.

Yesterday, with the help of Jay and Jamie, I was able to bag up the remaining trash, box up the remaining items to be kept and clear out all of the furniture in the room. All that remains is one dusty space, to which I will do my best to spruce up over the weekend.

As I stood in my empty room, and looked at the dust bunnies that had gathered behind furniture that hadn't been moved in well over a decade, as well as the shadows on the faded walls, that traced the memories that once hung there - I flashed back to that fateful day when I first moved in.

June 1993. I had spent several years living in a small one-bedroom apartment in NE Philly on Roosevelt Blvd (US 1 for those not from here). It was a crazy busy street but my little corner of the world was my sanctuary.

I had moved there to escape a world that had grown dark - and I loved being away from everything. That is until I saw Gaskill Street.

In 1992 a good friend of mine managed the classified section of the Philadelphia City Paper. One day she called to say that someone had submitted an ad for a house rental and she was going to check it out before printing the ad, since she was in the market. By the end of that week, she was committed and soon had moved in, along with two of her friends, to this beautiful three-bedroom home in Society Hill.

A year went by and one of the roommates decided to move out and into a space with her boyfriend - so I was asked if I was interested in seeing the room.

At first I wasn't sure; since I treasured my freedom away from the Center City world - but I realized that the time had come. After 7 years of a self-imposed exile, I would return to the heart of the city that I love and start a new chapter. Chapter Three.

The first chapter was from 1981-1986 when I lived in the epicenter of all things gay in Philly; not only geographically but spiritually; since I was the co-founder and General Manager of Au Courant Newsmagazine - Philly's gay arts weekly newspaper.

From 1986-1993 I lived a simple life, complete with your 'spiral out of control' moments in NE Philly, in the above said apartment.

And now, in 1993, I would return to Center City with my head held high and carve out a new world for me.

In those 16 years at Gaskill I did pretty well. I entered the home in my final fleeting minutes of my 20s and left it just weeks shy of turning 46. I made a new network of friends; both professionally and personally. I created a new public persona and went on to produce some pretty sweet nightlife events. I put myself out there - but relished being home alone, in my room, when all was done.

Fact is - I was such a public persona during the past dozen years or so, partly to hide the frustration of being so alone inside. I figured (at the time) that it was easier to toss on a new coat of paint versus rip out the plumbing.

But, as with any old house, sooner or later, you have to deal with the inners. Thankfully, I did just that and soon after that project began I met John. Together we have both helped each other grow, balance and love ourselves.

Last May John took on the rental of a house he once shared - to assist, I agreed to sign on the lease and cover utilities; since I was there often. Turns out I would be there nightly for the last year (haha!). John and I connect so comfortably together that we never truly tire of the other. Just as we were a great couple, it seemed that we were great housemates as well.

So - the revelation struck over winter; the time had come. The house on Gaskill had served me well, but my home was with John at our new place. Sure the dollars saved by consolidating my overhead would be quite welcome, but I knew that emotionally and spiritually, this was the time to move on with my life.

So, as I stood in my old worn-out empty room yesterday, I realized that this was not the end of a chapter, but the beginning of a brand new one.

And I couldn't be happier! :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu - Redux

Well, the world woke today to MSM hyperventilating over the possibilities of a Pandemic on our horizons. Swine flu had reared its snout once again ... yes, once again.

Grant it, this is a 'new strain', but all this talk of Swine flu brought back a flood of memories from fall of 1976 when, at the ripe young age of 13, I stood in a line that went around the block just to get my inoculation against the dreaded Swine Flu.

Check out these 'Swine Flu Propaganda' public service announcements produced to help scare everyone into quickly lining up for their shot:

Although many might remember the Swine Flu scare of '76, few know the back story to this campaign for mass inoculation of America. Paul Mickle of The Trentonian wrote a detailed account of this moment in history - totally worth the click and read (especially as we watch America face to face with a possible repeat scenario) ... but here's some highlights from his article:
On the cold afternoon of February 5, 1976, an Army recruit told his drill instructor at Fort Dix that he felt tired and weak but not sick enough to see military medics or skip a big training hike.

Within 24 hours, 19-year-old Pvt. David Lewis of Ashley Falls, Mass., was dead, killed by an influenza not seen since the plague of 1918-19, which took 500,000 American lives and 20 million worldwide.

Two weeks after the recruit's death, health officials disclosed to America that something called "swine flu" had killed Lewis and hospitalized four of his fellow soldiers at the Army base in Burlington County.

Thus was born what would become known to some medical historians as a fiasco and to others as perhaps the finest hour of America's public health bureaucracy.

Only young Lewis died from the swine flu itself in 1976. But as the critics are quick to point out, hundreds of Americans were killed or seriously injured by the inoculation the government gave them to stave off the virus.

By mid-March '76, CDC Director Dr. David J. Sencer had lined up most of the medical establishment behind his plan to call on Ford to support a $135 million program of mass inoculation.

By Oct. 1, the makers had the serums ready and America's public health bureaucracy had lined up thousands of doctors, nurses and paramedics to give out the shots at medical centers, schools and firehouses across the nation.

Jim Florio, then an ambitious rookie Democratic congressman supporting Jimmy Carter for president, didn't use the situation to take a shot at Ford. He lined up and was the first Jersey resident to take the inoculation.

Within days, however, several people who had taken the shot fell seriously ill. On Oct. 12, three elderly people in the Pittsburgh area suffered heart attacks and died within hours of getting the shot, which led to suspension of the program in Pennsylvania.

As of this writing we have 40 cases of Swine Flu - with no US fatalities - and the Obama administration announced that it was responding aggressively as if the outbreak would spread into a full pandemic. That is the smart way to handle this and I am grateful that we have an administration in place that is taking this issue seriously.

While watching the morning coverage today, besides traveling back to my youth I also felt a wave of anger. Anger over media's use of words like 'pandemic' and the front & center coverage of this story.

Flashback 25 years ago to a time when a major health crisis was affecting America; over 4,200 citizens had died of AIDS but you could barely get a friggin' late-night mention on cable access from the media, since it was a 'gay plague'. I suppose my anger comes from remembering that time in history when we did not have such a luxury, and had to swim (or sink) on our own.

Me And Bea

Sad news about the passing of the legendary actress Bea Arthur.

Not only was Ms. Arthur one of my favorite actresses ever, she was a true inspiration to me - in every chapter of growing up.

When I was feeling alone as an only child during those years when I had a new world thrust on me; complete with a step-dad and disruption; she was my Mother. Reliable and constant.

In the 80s, when I was spinning out of control amidst a sea of empty nightlife promises and gone-too-soon friendships, she was there. Reliable and constant.

In the late 1980s I had a chance to attend a PETA Rock Against Fur event at NYC's Palladium nightclub. The evening featured performances from The B-52s, Nina Hagen, Lene Lovich, Sugercubes and more - and was guest hosted by (among others) Bea Arthur and Betty White.

While backstage in this massive VIP lounge; I got into line for the evening's buffet dinner. After a moment, I realized that BEA FRIGGIN ARTHUR was right behind me, with friends. Naturally it was her voice that gave it away.

I was speechless with glee. I turned to her and proceeded to verbally vomit some praise like any good star-struck fan. She listened and held my hand and said that the pleasure was all hers.

Swept away is an understatement!

The line moved slowly and as we reached for plates I was truly beside myself, so we started to fill it with veggies and such and came across three large bowls - each with some colorful form of paste (this was my introduction to the Vegan world!)

So there we are, me and Bea - scooping polite ladles of colorful slop onto our bowls - me wondering just what the fuck this shit was - and Bea trying hard to keep her composure ... when she leans into me and whispers; in the classic baritone voice....

"I'm all for animal rights, but I could just die for some chicken!"

I let out the biggest guffaw and from that point on I felt as if I truly connected with Ms. Arthur.

So thanks Bea - for not only "being a friend" - but for being.

You'll be missed.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Land of the Lost - April

Land of the Lost Playlist
Friday, April 24

** 7pm **

The B-52's - Planet Claire
Adam Ant - Desperate But Not Serious
Human League - Hard Times 12"
New Musik - Straight Line
Spandau Ballet - Glow 12"
Information Society - Running 12"
Pet Shop Boys - Suburbia
Medium Medium - So Hungry, So Angry
Klark Kent - Away From Home
Kraftwerk - House Phone

** 8pm **

The Sound - Coldbeat
Joe Jackson - Friday
Level 42 - The Chinese Way
Shriekback - Accretions
Lene Lovich - Maria
Figures On A Beach - No Stars
Berlin - No More Words 12"
Rough Trade - Shaking The Foundation
Joy Division - Transmission
Thomas Dolby - Airhead 12"
Comateens - TCV15

** 9pm **

The Blasters - I'm Shaken
The Hit List - Into The Fire
Blancmange - Don't Tell Me
- live concert recording; November 1978
DEVO - Wiggly World
DEVO - Pink Pussycat
DEVO - Satisfaction
DEVO - Jocko Homo
The B-52's - Summer of Love
The Clash - Clampdown
Kleenex - Ain't You
Yoko Ono - Walking On Thin Ice 12"
Quando Quango - Tingle

** 10pm **

Ministry - She's Got A Cause
Fine Young Cannibals - Ever Fallen In Love
Yaz - Nobody's Diary
The Cars - Dangerous Type
Sinead O'Connor - Put Your Hands On Me
Eurythmics - Take Me To Your Heart
Japan - Quiet Life 12"
- LOTL Spotlight Artist
Classix Nouveaux - Old World For Sale
Classix Nouveaux - The Robots Dance
Classix Nouveaux - 627
Red Flag - If I Ever
The Psychedelic Furs - India
Teardrop Explodes - Second Head
Wake - Testament

NOTE: Next month's trip into the LAND OF THE LOST is a week earlier than usual, as I will once again kick off the Memorial Day Weekend with an extended edition of LOTL ... 5 nonstop hours of the Rock of the 80s!

Friday, May 22
7pm to Midnight

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I'm Doin' Fine in 2009

Well, along with the proverbial road, this blog is lined with good intentions.

I started this year with a hope to really roll up my sleeves and utilize this blog more often; but as I sit here on a true spring morning (where temperatures are to finally rise to the mid-70s), I realize that instead of writing about my world these past few months; I have been living it.

Three major things happened since I made that broken new year's resolution - and each has been life-changing. Equally, they have not only changed my behavior, but have allowed me to create a new set of inner priorities for living.

First came Nomi. Nomi (named after Klaus Nomi) is the new addition to our little corner of the world. She is an almost 9-month old Rat Terrier / Beagle mutt who is easily the most well-behaved dog I've seen in some time. She rarely barks and instead will cover you with kisses and snuggles. She is housebroken and simply loves to be nearby.

The last pet I owned was when I was 12 ... having a dog in my life has really put things into perspective. She has shown me what is important in life; it's all about the simple things.

Of course - I say 'first came Nomi', but really, first came John.

John and I are inching close to starting off year number three! In fact (to bring it back to Nomi!), her paperwork shows that she was born on July 27 ... which happens to also be our anniversary date!


Things with John and I have been great - what many might not have known was that since last May, for all intensive purposes, we've been living in a house that we rent together. The deal was that, once John's former roommate moved out, I'd sign a new lease with him just in case there was any credit issues. Turns out there wasn't, since the realtor has turned out to be a notch above slumlord (haha).

Since May, John has paid the rent and I have paid utilities. But I continued to pay my third of my house as well - after this winter's obnoxious gas bills, I realized that the time had come.

So, after 16 years, I am leaving the house that has been my home in order to officially call what has been my home for the past year ... MY HOME!

The only anxiety I have over this entire transition is cleaning out my room of 16 years of crap. Since I've lived with John for the past year, I already know just how good we are together and just how much I love our house and our world, complete with our pup.

The Purge Project starts today - hope is to have my room empty by May 3, so my landlord can bring the room into the 21st century (it hasn't been painted or such in 20 years). My goal is to get rid of most of my life's clutter and start fresh; I love this feeling and I've done it a few times before (as those longtime readers know) ... being able to whittle down my life's belongings to just what I truly need/want is going to be a good thing.

The process might be exhausting - but the results will be rewarding for sure.

Along with my move and the addition of Nomi - the final change has been within.

A year ago, John and I both realized it was time to take a break from drinking. We had both used alcohol as a tool to socialize and as a crutch to get over our awkwardness. But with each other, we slowly realized that, together we each grew stronger independently. So we decided to take a year off from drinking and clean ourselves out; both physically and mentally.

Last month marked one year without a drink ... a big deal for someone who actually HAD a drink named after him!

This isn't to say I won't have a drink ever again - I enjoyed a good beer. But this was something that we both wanted to do for ourselves. To get our lives back in control so to speak. Not only do I sleep better, but my wallet is just a tad heavier these days as well! :)

So - that has been this year; a celebration of my new world; clear-headed, very much in love. A new chapter begins, complete with a pup named Nomi.

Spring really has sprung!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

SexDwarf Playlist

Sex Dwarf Playlist
Friday, April 3
- a spotlight on Human League

DJ Robert Drake 9:00 - 10:30pm

Human League / Louise
Marshall Crenshaw / Someday, Someway
Golden Earring / Twilight Zone
Robert Hazard / Escalator Of Life
Martha & The Muffins / Echo Beach
The Flirts / (Don't Put Another Dime In) The Jukebox
Human League / Rock Me Again and Again (six times)
Kajagoogoo / Too Shy
Human League / The Lebanon
Trio / Da Da Da
Human League / Hard Times (inst)
Gary Numan / Cars 12"
Psychedelic Furs / Love My Way
Depeche Mode / Master & Servent - Set Me Free
Ultravox / The Thin Wall
DEVO / Jerkin Back N Forth
The B-52s / 52 Girls
Yaz / State Farm
Yello / Bostich
Gang Of Four / I Love A Man In A Uniform

DJ Marilyn Thomas 10:30 - 11:30pm

Human League / The Sound of the Crowd
Simple Minds / Promised You A Miracle
Spandau Ballet / The Freeze
Heaven 17 / Keep Feelin (Fascination)
A Flock Of Seagulls / Space Age Love Song
Naked Eyes / Always Something There To Remind Me
Duran Duran / Careless Memories
The Cure / In Between Days
The Smiths / Ask
Human League / Love Action (I Believe In You)
OMD / Tesla Girls
New Order / Temptation
XTC / Life Begins At The Hop
Human League / Mirror Man

DJ Robert Drake 11:30pm - 12:15am

Philip Oakey / Together In Electric Dreams 12"
Prince / Dirty Mind
Naked Eyes / Promises Promises 12"
Human League / Don't You Want Me 12"
Baltimora / Tarzan Boy 12"
Taffy / I Love My Radio 12"
Madness / Our House 12"
After The Fire / Der Kommissar 12"
David Bowie / Let's Dance 12"

DJ Marilyn Thomas 12:15 - 1:00am

Human League / All I Ever Wanted
Yaz / Don't Go
Human League / Empire State Human
Depeche Mode / Personal Jesus
Echo & The Bunnymen / The Cutter
General Public / Tenderness
Selecter / Too Much Pressure
The Clash / Magnificent Seven
The Ramones / Rock N Roll High School
Billy Idol / Rebel Yell
Soft Cell / Sex Dwarf
Talk Talk / It's My Life

DJ Robert Drake 1:00 - 2:00am

Strafe / Set It Off 12"
Book Of Love / Boy
New Order / Confusion
The Vels / Look My Way
David Bowie / Dancing With The Big Boys
Talking Heads / Crosseyed And Painless
Duran Duran / Girls On Film 12"
Quando Quango / Love Tempo 12"
Joy Division / She's Lost Control
Pylon / Crazy
OMD / Her Body In My Soul
Siouxsie & The Banshees / Dear Prudence
Human League / Human12" - closing song