Posts Tagged ‘ gay ’

Desperation is NOT Pretty

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Last night (and I mean ALL night) I emailed every LGBT organization within a 50 mile radius of my upcoming NYC play, The Love Song of Sidney J. Stein. There are a LOT. Besides the usual community centers, there’s a gay cycling club, a gay wrestling group, a few gay synagogues, a gay chorus, gay country-western line dancing… Out there living the glorious, childless life I could have had if God in his wisdom hadn’t made me so damn straight! There is even a group for bear lovers where you have to press a big hairy belly-button to get into the website. Who knew gays loved wildlife so much?

My show opens a week from this Friday and I am slowly reaching a level of panic usually induced by looking in my rear view mirror and realizing those shiny red and blue lights aren’t a UFO. You know, that moment of sheer terror when you make a quick mental checklist of whether you actually have the car registered, inspected and insured all at the same time and search frantically for your license so you don’t have to spend the rest of the night trying to arrange a ride back home from the police station? No? Maybe this example only applies to my wife and me.

Needless to say, I am freaking. Except for the livingroom where we rehearse, my house is a disaster area. There’s a new tire next to my piece of crap car waiting for it to stop raining so it can be restored to its rightful place. My fantasy baseball team is crumbling into disrepair. The kids have resorted to (gulp) getting food and drink for themselves! Because of my strange, three-hours-at-a-time sleep schedule, the cats pounce on me 12 to 15 times a day to be fed, probably thinking each time that it’s morning again. I’m a downward spiral, wrapped inside a hurricane, surrounded by an inferno of lava. And that’s just my stomach.

Every week the good people from All Out Arts who run the theater festival send me an email with our ticket sales to date. For the last three weeks it’s been the same—four total tickets sold for three shows. Four! Now of course more than four people will see the show. Rationally I know that festival audiences are usually spur-of-the-moment and rarely lock themselves into tickets beforehand. But irrational, sleep-deprived, obsessive Brian reacts like Oskar Schindler at the end of Schindler’s List: if I sold these cufflinks, I could have had three more audience members…this ring, I could have melted it down and gotten four more tickets sold…this car…why did I need the car?…it could have been 20 tickets…

See, if I was thinking rationally I would know that our car would be lucky to fetch the price of one ticket, and only if you sold it for parts.

My problem is I’m a playwright, not a producer. Oh, I’ve learned how to do the things I need to do to promote my show, and I write a helluva press release. But there’s that…glaze-eyed, single-minded, slightly manic INTENSITY good producers have and I lack. I’m not willing to call and call and call until I get what I want. Although some of my Facebook friends might disagree, I am not comfortable with the all-out, Super Bowl marketing blitzkrieg necessary to sell tickets. I’m not above asking friends to come support my work, but I’m no good with the follow up phone call where I ask, “So what day are you coming? Are you bringing friends? How many? Get more, I’ll arrange a bus.” Naked ambition and the ability to use people I like without a conscience aren’t in my DNA. Which is why I will never succeed as a producer.

I’m more of a soft sell guy. The kind who would write a passive-aggressive blog about how freaked out he is over ticket sales with the hope that everyone who reads it and can travel to New York “gets it” and instantly goes to the website at web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/527 and buys tickets to make my stomach stop hurting. See why I suck at this?

 

You want to know how I view the art of selling tickets? You ever see Miller’s Crossing? If you haven’t, go out and buy it RIGHT NOW. We’ll wait. OK, you remember the scene where John Turturro is being taken out into the woods to be shot by Gabriel Byrne and he’s begging, begging, begging for his life to be spared? “I can’t die… out here in the woods, like a dumb animal! In the woods, LIKE A DUMB ANIMAL!” Sniveling, pride-less John Turturro, pissing himself and crying, on his knees in the woods. “I’m praying to you! Look in your heart! I’m praying to you! Look in your heart! I’m praying to you! Look in your heart! I’m praying to you! Look in your heart… ” Producing, ladies and gentlemen!

 

I want the world to see my new show. It’s my latest child, and he’s just learning to walk. I want to show you the video and the endless pictures of his first step. But…I know there’s a limit to how much you’re going to listen to me go on about my miraculous kid. At some point you’re going to smile, nod your head knowingly, say something like “aren’t children great” and try to get away from me as quickly as possible without being rude. Oh, how I wish I could be one of those blissfully unaware people who think whatever is important to them is equally, if not more, important to the rest of the world! If only I lacked all empathetic ability, and cared not a whit about what the other guy was thinking as I’m saying, “So, you gonna come to my show? It’s going to be fabulous. Ten tickets or an even dozen?”

 

I need to send more emails and lie down for no more than three hours, if my stomach stops churning. Feel sorry for me? Good, here’s the flyer: 

 

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Gays Win Right to Kiss Their Perfect Lives Goodbye

To my gay friends who won the right to marry in New York last week I’m overjoyed for you all. Although the ruling did not come early enough to properly prepare for a summer wedding, a missing human right was finally and forever ensured in the Empire State. Congratulations!

Now stop telling me you’re engaged. Especially if you’ve been with the same guy or gal for two decades. The bloom is off the rose. To me, and most of the rest of your friends, you’ve been a couple of dried up geezers for years now.

Before you start typing hateful comments about how short-sighted, homophobic and just plain stupid I am, allow me to explain. I’ve been married 12 (or 13?) years, ever since that one beautiful day in June (or July?) that was the result of the following innocent question: “You think we should get married before the baby comes?”

I hope you appreciate the honesty, because I may not live to see my 13th (or 14th?) anniversary when Mary El reads this. She was seven months and carrying low in the hip. Some women get to seven months and start to show a little. Mary El starts to show a little at seven WEEKS and becomes a gas giant by the time she hits seven months. The best way I can describe it is if you’ve ever played those Super Mario Brothers video games. You know the pirate ship level when they are firing those big bullets at you that look like a zeppelin cut in half? That was poor Mary El. I give her nothing but credit. If anything did that to my body ONCE, I would be fleeing to the nearest nunnery—she hung in for three 10lb. plus children, all by C-section, and she has the pictures to prove it.  Of the children, not the C-section.

We showed up at the courthouse in flagrante, she in her best maternity duds and me in a shirt and tie. Our friends Mary and David stood up for us. The judge was the same guy I plead to about a speeding ticket just a week before. He didn’t recognize me, which proved my assumption that judges rarely look up in those situations. No one gave us the fisheye bacause of Mary El’s condition, which proved my assumption that people in general rarely look past their own noses. We had a very nice lunch afterward during that late fall (or early summer?) day.

So that’s how I feel about the institution of marriage. If it didn’t make taxes and life insurance easier–or keep our first child from being a bastard–we could easily have done without it. Such is our overwhelming love and devotion, along with our avoidance of public scenes and rote ceremony. But I do not presume that everyone should conform to our way of thinking. If you want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for the perfect dress and the perfect flowers and the perfect cake so that relatives can make drunken jackasses of themselves and the bride can end up crying her eyes out in the bathroom, be my guest. In fact invite me, I like to see a train wreck up close.

My gay friends, I thought, shared a little wink and nod about the stupidity of it all. The pomp and circumstance surrounding the “breeders” and their silly customs. Gay couples were too cool for that. They found each other, said “hey, I love you, let’s stay together” and worked together to create gorgeous, impeccable homes to which you were afraid to take your children lest they break something expensive. They led childless, pet-filled, two-income lives that were the envy of all their straight friends. (That is a joke, kind of.)

Who knew, deep in the heart of that blissful nonconformity, that there was an adopting, wedding-planning beast ready to be unleashed? Don’t get me wrong; gay couples are as equipped, if not more so to raise children and are frequently in a better financial position and stage in life than most straight people to do so. And with this new NY law, there is nothing to stop anyone from planning and executing the most fabu weddings known to mankind (and I want to be invited to each and every one since the food will undoubtedly be spectacular) to publicly express love for a mate. My question is why? For the love of Mike (or John, or Pete, etc) why?

If I may, I think at the heart of that question is the following truism: people always want what they can’t have. Straight couples like us yearn for a life with no children where we come home to a perfect house that has not been spilled on, broken, raided of food or had pieces of furniture urinated on. Some gay couples want nothing more than the peed-on sofas, and the burping, crying, child that comes with it.  And they want the storybook wedding that has always before been denied to them. We take for granted our ability to procreate and our right to rent a hall and throw a shin-dig that winds up with a legal marriage license. Gays take for granted unstained rugs, the lack of necessity for child-care and the TIME to do ANYTHING for yourself.

Obviously I’m talking in hyperbole (sort of). I love my children and would only trade them with the absolutely perfect gay couple who had the right amount of cash up front. I wear a wedding ring and I am thrilled to be married because, along with many other better reasons, I don’t have to be out there in the dating pool that I navigated as well as the captain of the Titanic before Mary El had mercy on me. Our house would NEVER be as nice as our gay friends’ houses if we worked on it, childless, for the rest of our lives. But the getting married thing really was no big deal. I call Mary El my Plymouth Rock because when I landed, I landed for good. We didn’t need ratification, though it was there when we wanted it.

I guess that’s what it gets down to, ultimately. Even if we thought it was no big whoop, we were able to do it and our deserving friends did not. I changed my mind, if you want to trade vows in a field of heather with doves flitting in the air and a Judy Garland impersonator belting “Over the Rainbow”, have at it. Mary El and I will be in the crowd, trying to eat as much filet minon as our bellies will carry, if we can get a babysitter of course. Just don’t hold the toaster against us, ’cause we got two kids and not a nickel to our names. Welcome to your future.

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