Posts Tagged ‘DC’

39856_1156248682487_1715825008_306464_227638_nThis past week marked a milestone in my life. Twenty years since I met Ed Briggs. The most amazing many I have ever met.I am happy to say, now husband. I am looking forward to the summer with the Supreme Court makes us legal across the land.I met Ed in 1993 at the National March on Washing for Gay and Lesbian Rights, Or the March. Although he had been at a party I hosted the night before, so were 1800 other men. When we did meet, it was literally a one in a million chance. According to estimates there were a million people on the Mall that day to march for GLBT equality.

There were groups marching representing differing geographic locations, fetishes, sports and gender preferences. I was looking for people with the leather community when I ran into some men that I had met at a FFA party on Thursday night. Although hot, hot, men, by the time Sunday rolled around I was just plain wiped-out . That along with the fact that I had a dozen people staying in my small basement apartment meant no privacy.

In an attempt to make a graceful exit, I notice a cute little stud on the hill about 50 feet away. Feigning surprise I told the guys that I just spotted a friend that I had net seen in years. I made a bee-line over to him, gave him a hug as I whispered in his ear; “I’ll give you $20 bucks if you pretend that you know me and walk out of sight of the guys behind me. He did, we walked away together and have been walking together every day for the past 20 years. He never did ask for the $20.

The funny thing is that later when Going through pictures I had taken that day, I found a picture of him from before we met.

We spent the rest of the day together having dinner at Mr. Henry’s on Capitol Hill. In one of the first signs of Synchronicity,  one of the people staying with me during the march had been dating Ed’s friend he came to the march with. Having spent almost 19 years with this man I will have more to write about and the things I have learned. But as a quick introduction, when we met Ed was active with the Spartan Wrestling Club in Philadelphia where he lived. For the first year, one or the other of us made the trip to Philly or DC every weekend. We finally moved into together in Philly then a year later moved to Florida.

To celebrate the occasion, We spent a week in Spain. Maybe it’s a sign of age, but I preferred the city of Madrid to Barcelona.

Dave and Ed at Gaudi Park in Barcelona

Dave and Ed at Gaudi Park in Barcelona

A lot of ink has been used in recent month examining the change in the Republican party. My take is a little different.

The R’s have become the home of the Evangelical wing of Christian churches and the former John Birchers’. The John Birchers are the most interesting additions to the party. They were the first to migrate to the party when President Nixon embarked on his southern strategy to win re-election. The John Birchers’ were previously the dixicrats or southern democrats that Nixon and the Republicans targeted.  The John Birch Society is a political advocacy group that, in their words, supports anti-communism, limited government, a constitutional republic and personal freedom. The society upholds an originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, which it identifies with fundamental Christian principles, seeks to limit governmental powers, and opposes wealth redistribution, and economic interventionism. It not only opposes the practices it terms collectivism, totalitarianism, and communism, but socialism and fascism as well, which it asserts is infiltrating US governmental administration. Congressman Larry McDonald (D-Georgia), (who I worked for in 1978) then its newly appointed president, characterized the society as belonging to the Old Right rather than the New Right.

The society opposed aspects of the 1960s civil rights movement and claimed the movement had communists in important positions. The Society produced a flyer titled “What’s Wrong With Civil Rights?,” which was used as a newspaper advertisement. The group is Anti-Semitic, racist, anti-Mormon, anti-Masonic, and filled with a paranoid fervor. They are against the trilateral commission and at one time tried to tie the Queen of England to an international drug cartel. The UN’s role in the Gulf War and President George H.W. Bush’s call for a ‘New World Order’ appeared to many society members to validate their claims about a ”One World Government” conspiracy. It should surprise no one that Chuck Colson, convicted White House Aide to Nixon, (found Jesus in jail) was an architect of the Southern Strategy for Republicans as well as a supporter and leader of the Family. The “Family” is the secretive evangelical group responsible for the National Prayer Breakfast and the infamous “C Street House”. I lived in another one of their houses while in college. Sen Brownback (R-KA) in 1999, joined together with fellow Family members, Senators Strom Thurmond and Don Nickles to demand a criminal investigation of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. They run a convert operation and have a burnt earth policy against those who challenge them.

What do these two groups have in common? Both need to feed upon people with low analytical skills and suffer some form of paranoia. The average member of each group is less educated then average and believe the world to be seen in terms of black and white, us against them. There is no room for nuance. In one group there is a constant undertone of conspiracies set to undermine their lives. The others group has that plus a belief that there are invisible forces at work that only they understand because of their special calling. There is an invisible force that created the universe and they have a special intimate relationship with. Because of this relationship they get special treasures after they die. While alive they are give a special insight into the universe. They need to see the world in terms of black and white. The Devil is out to destroy them and their way of life with temptation. This is why they eschew facts and reality because there is no proof to substitute their belief patterns in both cases. Therefore evidence base science directly challenges their belief and cause them to lash out.

(Part 2 – Why they hate education)

A friend posted on Facebook today that she was returning to the Piano. Her quote was wonderful. “THE PIANO – When you truly play, you and the piano become one. And until you play again, it is indeed a temptation and difficult to resist.”

From the time I was a kid I wanted to learn to play the piano. I had a couple of lessons in 7th grade from Sr. St. George but could not get access to a piano to practice and it fell by the wayside. The very first record album I ever bought was Horowitz playing Moonlight Sonata. It was a RCA recording from 1956. I still have that album. I used to lay across my bed and listen to it over and over. While other friends were learning the chords to Smoke on the Water I was listening to every nuance and variation in the music. VLADIMIR HOROWITZ was sent from the gods. His hands touched the keys and the angles would weep in shame. I so wanted to become one with an instrument in such a way that the sounds coming forth would make the world stop and take notice. I just never had a piano or the discipline to follow that path.

In my 20’s I had the opportunity to sit on a piano bench with Horowitz at the Ritz Carlton off DuPont Circle in Washington DC. Horowitz had just returned from a trip back to Moscow for his now famous concert and the Reagan people wanted to capitalize on it as some kind of US vs. USSR battle won by the good guys. In 1986, Horowitz announced that he would return to the Soviet Union for the first time since 1925 to give recitals in Moscow and Leningrad. In the new atmosphere of communication and understanding between the USSR and the USA, these concerts were seen as events of political, as well as musical, significance.

I mentioned the story about Horowitz being the first album I ever purchased and apparently she mentioned it to Vladimir. When he came out to warm up the piano and check its’ tuning he invited me to sit with him. He didn’t have to ask twice. I sat with him while he warmed up the most beautiful piano I had ever touched. As I watched his hands fly across the keyboard I realized I would never have that skill and all but gave up any dream of ever learning to play.

Vladimir Horowitz and David Schauer

Vladimir Horowitz and Me

After the dinner there was a receiving line that included Horowitz, Senator Paul Laxalt, Justices Warren Berger and Renquest, and Secretary George Schultz to name a few. As the guests were winding through the line and after-dinner drinks were being served, Horowitz bolted from the line asking “where’s that kid?” He came back into the dining room and found me. The confusion on the host face and the elite of Washington who had just been abandoned was priceless. Horowitz had tracked me down to ask if I had all his CD’s (A new fade in those days). I responded that I did not that I could not afford them all. He asked if I went to New York often to which I answered in the affirmative. He told me that next time I was in the city to call him and he would give the rest. He asked if I knew where he lived. I said you’re so famous like that John Lennon guy everyone in the city would know. And I’d ask when I got there. He retorted “Smart-ass” and then printed out his address and phone number.

On my next trip to NY I stopped by but he was napping. I had tea with his wife Wanda who gave me several CD’s. She told me that he was so excited to find someone at one of those parties who actually appreciated his work and not his fame that he actually talked about meeting me for several days. I couldn’t stop telling my friends who responded with a collective Vladimir who? By the time I made a trip to the City after that he has passed away.

Several years ago I purchased a baby grand with hopes of taking lessons and rekindling that love affair but every time I sat down to learn I psyched myself out by comparing myself to Horowitz.

Once again I have decided to try to learn. First step is to have it tuned. Then focus. The piano still calls to me and intimidates me at the same time.

This past week Ed and I celebrated our anniversary. 19 years ago we met in Washington DC at the March on Washington. One year ago on the same date, we got married and the US Courthouse in Washington DC. A more in-depth revelation of the day we met can be found here.

There is a certain synergy to this weekend in New York. The connection is Ghost.

I am writing this today while flying to New York to see a few shows for our anniversary. This brings full circle the “incident” on our wedding eve that almost derailed the wedding.
Last year as we prepared to actually get married, Ed and I decided that we would write vows. Not to be used in place of the ceremony used by the Clerk of the Court, but to exchange between ourselves. We both spent time, energy and heart writing them. I thought, since we both have a love of good movies, that mine would have a theme. I tried to incorporate as many movie lines into mine as I could remember.

The night before we got married we sat in our hotel room in Washington DC, Ed in my lap, and I gave him my “vows”. He read them, a little misty eyed, looked at me, and said ditto. I started to fume.
Is that is? Ditto? I poured hours into this and all you can say f@*kn say is ditto?!?!
I was pissed, or hurt, or just flummoxed. Any sense of romance was gone. My mind was racing trying to convince myself not to totally blow up and cancel the wedding. It took 18 years to get me to the alter and all he could say was f@*k ditto! I could not believe that Ed could act so callous. It was so out of character for him. Maybe it was just nerves hitting. I could not understand. I was nearly ready to head out the door for a long walk before he realize that I was truly upset and not projecting faux pain and indignation. Then he ask – “have you never seen the movie Ghost?” “No, I hadn’t! And I hadn’t seen Porky’s 3 either.” (see above comment about love of “GOOD” movies).
Since that night, I have come to find out that I am one of the few dozen people in the industrialized world who had not seen Ghost. Every person that weekend and after I went to for reassurance that I had been wronged squealed that that was the perfect response. Even our straight, 6’4″ 290 pounds of muscle, trainer congratulated Ed on a great response. I had been wronged damn-it and I kept looking for someone, anyone, who would back me up on that. Finally, four months later I found someone who had not seen ghost. They were from Europe but none the less she had not seen ghost. However once Ed explained the reason for his response, she “awww, that’s so sweet.
Today, after a year of trying to find someone who would let me play aggrieved victim or romance, I give up. I concede that that was a great response and I was really upset that I didn’t think of it first. Let me be clear. What Ed had written was beautiful and made me misty (actually I tear up at McDonald’s Olympic ads).
All that is a prelude to this weekend. For our anniversary, Ed is taking me to Broadway to see “Ghost the Musical.” I’ll let you know later how many Kleenex I go through.
As for the rest of the wedding eve, I calmed down and we headed out to the DC Eagle for our bachelors’ party. And no, you can’t see those pictures!

The other show we are seeing Saturday is Spiderman! Cannot wait!

July 2012, Washington DC is hosting the International Conference on AIDS. The Names Project Foundation, which takes care of all the Quilt Panels is trying to ‘blanket DC’ with all the Quilt Panels. The Quilt has been to DC in 1987, 88, 89, 92 and 1996. Some of the Quilt were included in President Clinton’s Inauguration Parade. The Quilt was also nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. It is the single largest community project in the World to this day.

The Quilt continues to grow as HIV/AIDS takes more lives. The Quilt now has over 47,000+ panels, weighs over 54 tons and has over 92,000+ names listed. Some famous names include: Arthur Ashe, Eazy E (rapper), Perry Ellis, Rock Hudson, Richard Hunt (muppeteer), Liberace, Freddie Mercury, Tim Richmond (Nascar), Robert Reed (Brady Bunch), Anthony Perkins (Psycho), Max Robinson (ABC News anchor), Jerry Smith (Redskin Football player), Ricky Wilson (B-52 band), Ryan White, Rudolf Nureyev, just to name a few…

According to POZ magazine, the  AIDS Memorial Quilt will be displayed in its entirety for the first time since 1996 in multiple key locations on and around Capitol Hill and throughout metropolitan Washington, DC. from July 21-24.

Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt is a 1989 documentary film that tells the story of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. Narrated by Dustin Hoffman with a musical score written and performed by Bobby McFerrin, the film focuses on several people who are represented by panels in the Quilt, combining personal reminiscences with archive footage of the subjects, along with footage of various politicians, health professionals and other people with AIDS.  One of those focused in the film was an ex of mine Tracy Torrey. Part of me want to go to DC to see the quilt, but after all this time and all those deaths and all those funerals, not sure I could handle it.  One of those focused in the film was an ex of mine Tracy Torrey. Part of me want to go to DC to see the quilt, but after all this time and all those deaths and all those funerals, not sure I could handle it.

Wayland Flowers

Posted: February 1, 2012 in book, My History
Tags: , , ,

Wayland Flowers was best known for the puppet act he created with his puppet Madame. His performances as “Wayland Flowers and Madame” were a major national success on stage and on screen in the 1970s and 1980s. Wayland was a ‘blue comic’ and Madame’s opening line – “Wayland is no ventriloquist and I’m no f—ing dummy” – set the tone for the raucous humor to follow. I thought of him the other day when someone sent me a you YouTube of their performance. I met him on the side of US 81 rear Roanoke Virginia in the early 1980’s. He and his friend (I recall he did porn) were next to a van that had broken down on the side of the interstate. I stopped because of the pretty boy in the daisy dukes and then sort of recognized Wayland. After I stopped I saw the famous madam! I ended up giving them a ride (all three) to the bar in Roanoke so they would be there for their performance. To thank me they got me drunk and I ended up crashing with them for the night. The next day I took them back to the van where they were meeting a tow driver. It was a fun night from what I remember. Madame made many jokes at my expense. As I recall, she was a screamer in bed! (And she was not even in the bed with us.) When he died in 1988, the New York Times obituary did not use the word “gay” or “AIDS”. on cancer.
A couple of years later I met Margo. Margo was the manager of Trio’s restaurant near DuPont Circle in Washington DC. It was a regular haunt of the gay community for years in the 70s- today even. Cheep food served with a foul attitude. When I was there it was as if people actually came to see how abusive they could get the waiter to act. Margo herself was an institution. She was the inspiration for Madame. Wayland I was told, had gone to school in DC and frequented Trio. Her hair, always in a bun sat elegantly on her head like a crown. She had that very square jaw with the beauty make. She was also a chain smoker with cigarette holder always in use.
Publicly she hated people recognizing her but it always made her smile. Don’t know why I thought of her. She was a tower of a woman. I wish I had stayed in touch. So often people come into a life for short periods and we let them go. Always assuming that we would meet them again. Sometimes you just got to make the effort to keep it alive. In a computer age I have taken to sending a handwritten note to people out of the blue just to say hi.

In December I wrote about my meeting Robert Mapplethorpe. It as a fascinating time. My good friend and co-worker, was the model for “Man in a Polyester Suit.” While trying to find a copy of the picture to post with the blog, I cam across several commentaries on the photo and the model, I laughed so had while reading one by “Mapplethorpe biographer.” I was certain that she made the shit up.  She said; “Robert Mapplethorpe found “god” in a gay bar called Sneakers one drizzly September evening in 1980 after leaving Keller’s [a former S& M bar that was now a gathering place for men interested in biracial sex].

Robert saw Milton Moore pacing up and down West Street, and was instantly transfixed by his beautiful face and forlorn stare. Mapplethorpe invited Moore to his apartment. Upon learning of his ambition to become a model, Mapplethorpe agreed to create a portfolio.”

Let me re-write it to more accurately reflect what happened. Robert met a scrawny ass black dude with a great smile packing serious meat in his skin tight jeans. Milton regular cruised the meat rack in search of bottom boys. Robert saw that Mitlon looked stoned and wanted to know if he had a joint. They went back to Bobbies place and got stoned together and fucked for several hours. Mapplethorpe then asked if he could take some pictures.

Her commentary continues on in very lofty prose analyzing “the genitals … pandering to the notion that blacks existed only as sex objects.” No! He was a size queen and hit a mother load! All that said, I jumped at the opportunity to watch Mapplethorpe do a photo-shoot in DC. I personal feel that most of his best work was black and white. That said his very best was the calla lilies! Although not black and white film, the contrast of the white flower and the black background combined with his eye for lighting are amazing.

My interest in photography started back in high school and I worked part time for the Times Crescent Newspaper, a local weekly paper in southern Maryland. I started as a deliver driver and then work my way in to the photo lab developing (by hand) photos the reporters had taken. I loved the dark room (have ever since). I loved the smell, and the excitement of creating something out of nothing. After the official photos were done I would experiment, overlaying negatives and playing with shadows. To this day I love the look of B&W photos and movies. At times when I frame a picture in my mind I see it and black and white. I guess how different colors are going to look as shades of gray. Just look at some of these photos and notice how converting to black and white actually makes them more striking. In black and white the lines and definition are much more clear.






I am getting more and more upset by the constant flood of crap that is frothing out of Rick Santorum’s mouth on a regular basis. His ass must be getting jealous of the crap that mouth has seen. The worse comes when he speaks of “Gay Marriage.”

Now people tell me I should not get upset and that he has no chance of winning the nomination. I say BULL! He is giving voice to millions of Americans. Americans who will continue to harass, beat and kill gay men and woman because they are genetically different and they do not understand that difference.

First I have to say that I despise the term “Gay Marriage.” This past year, on our 18th anniversary, Ed and I got married in Washington DC where we first met at a political march. We did not get gay married any more than we had a gay lunch after the wedding and gay parked our gay car (ok it was a Chrysler Sebring but you get the point). We got married in Washington DC pursuant to the laws of the Federal District of Columbia and the rules of the United States Congress. It is Marriage, not gay marriage. We are fighting for Marriage Equality not something new and different.

Second, Santorum’s stump speech says that; “Marriage is not a right.” “It’s a privilege that is given to society by society for a reason…. We want to encourage what is the best for children.” That statement is wrong on so many levels when examined. First, Santorum and I were in law school about the same time. When I was in school, Creighton, a Jesuit Law School, We learned about a case called the Loving Case. (LOVING v. VIRGINIA, 388 U.S. 1 (1967)). Many states, including Florida, through the 1960’s had Anti-Miscegenation laws on the books outlawing interracial marriages. The Supreme Court declared that these laws were, “designed to maintain White supremacy”. The Court stated in no uncertain terms,
“Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not to marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.” I am not sure where Santorum got his information but marriage is not a privilege and equality is not a privilege. It is a basic right.

He and his ilk, the evangelical Christians, talk about the sacredness of marriage. I will point out that government sanctions marriage. There is NOTHING that a government in this country can do, under the Constitution, that is “sacred.” The government issues a license to get married and to have certain benefits and obligations bestowed on two people. The government cannot issue a sacred document. It is at its’ base a contract between two people for mutual support. Marriage has not been between one man and one woman since time immemorial. Not until the very recent times did it morph into that. Before that it was between and man and his property. One man bought a daughter from another. The payment took the form of a dowry. As an attorney, I still deal with divorces of marriages performed in other countries that require the return of goats and such.

The last part of his statement is equally absurd. “We want to encourage what is the best for children.” Does that mean my brother and sister-in-law, married for over 20 years having no children, are not really married. The other possibility is even more absurd and point out why Christians find science to be the enemy. It is highly unlikely that a marriage of two people of the same gender will produce children. When I was in catholic school, in the sixth grade, I learned that it takes and x and y chromosome to produce a child and to get the right combination requires people of two different genders. Maybe they have discovered something new in genetics that I missed. As to the need to protect children, protect them from what? Priests? “Youth counselors?” Michelle Bachman’s husband? I will let Zach Wahls close for me. He is a 19-year-old University of Iowa engineering student and Eagle Scout whose parents are lesbians. Wahls gave a three-minute speech Tuesday before Iowa legislators urging them not to pass a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage and civil unions.

His words went viral across the Internet and had nearly a half million hits on YouTube in a single day.

Happy holidays and sorry for the lack of blogging. Between cleaning and shopping and depression writing has been thin. There are several things about this time of year that make it my least favorite. The first would be my birthday.

My birthday, celebrated last week, has always been a time of angsts for me. When I was young, my friends and family would say that they got me one big present instead of two little ones. They would try to get out of buying me both a Christmas present and birthday present by trying to sell me a load of  bull. I knew, kids know when you are feeding them crap. I knew what they spent on my brothers’ presents and saw what they got him for Christmas. I was getting short changed. Damn it, I was the oldest, I should be getting more, not less!

Then the actual birthday celebrations always seam to fizzle. Our family would go get a Christmas tree on my birthday and that would be part of the tradition. It never failed that there would be some argument about the size or cost or type of tree that killed the “festive” mood. Then there was the year that my father was going to pick me up after school and we were going to Shakey’s for pizza. It was pouring rain and cold so that was a great relief to me. I waited at the school and waited and waited. After about an hour I started walking in the cold rain. My dad finally found me and I crawled into his car. He was soaked too. He had a flat tire and had to change it in the rain. We got back to the house, cold, wet and miserable, only to find my mother emptying the contents of the refrigerator into coolers and moving them downstairs to the garage. The refrigerator had died and the garage was the coldest place to store food until a new one could be delivered.

When we entered the house and shut the door, the vibration caused the top shelf in the living room to fall on to each of the shelves below leaving a huge mess. My brother (who had stayed home sick that day, my birthday, while I had to go to school) dealt with that while my parents handled the kitchen.  After all of that had been dealt with and we started to relax, and got ready for pizza, we realized that the dog was missing. We though that maybe she walked out the garage while the doors were open. My dad and I got in the car to drive around looking for her. My mom found her deep under the stairs with a new litter of puppies. Only one made it. We named him Jinx.

As I got older things did not get much better. In 1980, I spent my birthday being poke and prodded at the National Institute of Health with what I later learned was my sero-conversion of HIV. Other years my birthday usually fell during finals week and such. In the past few years’ things have gotten better though, although the last two years they were spent in the ER with friends. Even if the day itself is pleasant, to me it is the official beginning of the Christmas push.

The Christmas push is the window where presents need to be mailed and final gifts need to be secured. I always worry that I am not going to make the impact I want with a gift. Something special that is remembered. I know I create a lot of the stress myself but I don’t know how to not worry.

Then there is Christmas day itself. When I was younger and then in my “religion” stage it held a magical time. Now it’s just another day. I was talking with a friend last night about Christmas. He is going to spend it at a casino with an ex-girlfriend from 25-30 years ago, his sister-in-law and her sister. Scott, much like myself, enjoys solitude. For some reason however we are both putting together “family  groups” that would not normally be people we want to spend time with, because of some deep seeded need to find a community or place to belong.

Ed is working on Christmas day although we will have Christmas Eve together. He said that on Christmas day, the ER fills with lonely people from the nursing homes who want company and the suicide attempts of the more mobile members of the lonely community.  Why on Christmas do we feel this need to be around friends and family more so than other times? Is there something deep in our soul or have we been so brainwashed by media, movies and Kodak advertising to feel that we are lees than normal if we cannot recreate a Norman Rockwell print. I don’t know. Maybe we always have hat need and the seasonal displays make it harder to mask. Sound good to me.