Amoeblog

California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Silver Lake, Los Angeles's Gayborhood

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 8, 2010 09:33pm | Post a Comment


Silver Lake
is a largely gay and hilly neighborhood (one of its nicknames is "The Swish Alps") in LA’s Mideast Side. To vote for more Los Angeles neighborhoods to be featured in a future post, click here. To vote for LA County communities, click here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.

 

INTRODUCTION TO SL

First things first… Silver Lake is two words! Don't believe me? Count 'em! There are fifteen Silver Lakes in the US, thirteen of which are two words (one of the offenders is in Texas, and therefore doesn't really count). It is supposedly the second gayest place in the Southland, after West Hollywood and in front of Broadway Corridor.

 
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Maps of the Mideast Side and Silver Lake*


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Eye On L.A And Its Lasting Impressions

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, August 4, 2009 01:10am | Post a Comment
As a youngster growing up in the late 70’s/early 80’s, I had a misconception of L.A. life. Since my reality was based on what I saw on television, Los Angeles was all palm trees with tanned blondes sailing on yachts during the day, then going to the clubs at night, mostly to enjoy female mud wrestling. Why would I have such a skewed vision of Los Angeles? Eye On L.A., of course. Eye on L.A. is Los Angeles’ longest running news segment program, and it is still on today. I feel that Will Ferrell and Adam McKay must have watch many hours of Eye On L.A. as well to have created a movie as twisted as Anchorman. In fact, check out this promo for Eye On L.A. back in 1982, which starts with the startling tale of heiress Patty Hearst, the “Slave Of The SLA,” then ends with female mud wrestling. I can’t make this stuff up.


They used go on and on about the female mud wresting so much that Phranc, former member of Catholic Discipline and All-American Jewish Lesbian Folksinger, once wrote a song about Eye On L.A. called “Female Mud Wresting.” I always remember the line in the song, “Not like Steve and Melody, I do not like female mud wrestling.” The Steve that she referenced in the song is none other than Steve Edwards, who is still in the “light news” game on Fox’s Good Day L.A. Now Phranc has her own Internet show called Phranc Talk. It’s sort of like a Mr. Rogers show, only if an All-American Lesbian Folksinger did it. Maybe she could have Steve Edwards on her show one day. In this episode, she shares her song-writing skills and her bird named Pickles.

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No sound no tell, Gay Cinema in the silent era

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 31, 2009 12:12pm | Post a Comment

Frederic Lord Leighton's Flaming June

June, in addition to being Vision Research Month, Fireworks Safety Months, Light the Night for Sight Months, National Candy Month, Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month, Cancer in the Sun Month, Dairy Month, National Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Pest Control Month, Safety Month, Scleroderma Awareness Month, and Zoo and Aquarium Month, is also Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, first established by Bill Clinton back in '00. Therefore, I may in the coming weeks blog about iced tea or become aware of Scleroderma, but for now I will focus on Gay Cinema.

One of the first things I noticed about gay people's feelings toward Gay Cinema is that they're almost all negative.  Exceptions are usually foreign films, which are almost invariably downers. The first year Amoeba observed Gay and Lesbian Pride month in the movie department in the form of a display, we all had an uncomfortable chuckle about the unfailingly depressing storylines of the films we featured. Films based on the lives and deaths of famous gays like Joe Orton, Brandon Teena, Oscar Wilde and James Whale all ended tragically. And here I thought gay meant happy!


The history of Gay Cinema is quite unlike most minority driven alternatives to Hollywood. Unlike American Asians, blacks, Latinos and Natives -- whose identities have always been fairly obvious (except in cases of passing) -- gays have always had the option of remaining invisilble. Therefore, gays were never required to sit in the back of the bus, attend special schools or live in segregated neighborhoods. In the silent film industry, most gay actors understandably chose to hide their identitites. Though there are few overt representations of homosexuality in silent films -- mostly in European films -- most are merely hinted at. More importantly, however, the contributions of gays both in front of and behind the camera are many and noteworthy.

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Ce n'est pas un commercial

Posted by Job O Brother, May 12, 2009 04:46pm | Post a Comment



Friends!
Romans!
Countrymen!
Everyone else not covered by the above catagories!


I've just been notified that my dear friend Hedda Lettuce is currently angling for a spot on Logo's hit reality TV show RuPaul's Drag Race.

You may remember Hedda from Season 5 of Project Runway when she had the misfortune to work with fashion no-no Suede.

Do humanity a favor, won't you, and take a couple seconds to vote for her? Thanks!

(In which we witness love and marriage and indegestion.)

Posted by Job O Brother, May 4, 2009 01:29pm | Post a Comment

Howdy!

The boyfriend and I just returned from a weekend in the great country of Texas – Houston, to be exact. We went there to celebrate the marriage of some neat humans.

The boyfriend was Best Man at the wedding, so I spent a lot of time in the chapel entertaining myself as he practiced marching down the aisle, handing over rings, smuggling in tequila shots and body-blocking any attempts the bride might have of going “runaway” – you know, typical Best Man duties.

Having been raised in a church, I know how to find all the best hiding spots, and I felt immediately at home. Curled in a cool, dark alcove between the pipe organ and a wood-carved dove of peace, I listened to music on my iPhone and surfed the World Wide Web – reading The Guardian, watching this and this, and wondering why Facebook suggested I be friends with Bill Murray (who I still haven’t forgiven for dog-earing my copy of Dubliners).

Rice Memorial Chapel, the house of God in question, is tucked centrally on the campus grounds of Rice University. It’s a lovely, small chapel, decorated with gold tile and royal blue carpeting. It is noticeably lacking in denominational iconography – a single, movable, wood cross sat off-stage – which is to be expected, I suppose, from a University that specializes in applied sciences. Stained glass glorifying Dr. Willem Kolff healing the crippled with Jarvik-7’s and panels depicting various stages of the Scopes “Monkey” Trial would not have seemed out of place.


I flipped through one of their hymnals. I love a great many hymns, but none so much as “Blessed Assurance” composed by Phoebe P. Knapp and written by Fanny Crosby.


Take a load off.

Fanny Crosby was one of my childhood heroes (a fact which illuminates just how carefree and fun a youngster I was). Although a celebrity in her lifetime (born 1820 – died 1915), her name is now relatively unknown outside Protestant churches.

Rendered blind in infancy after a botched eye operation, she nevertheless grew to be a gifted musician – penning over 8,000 hymns under various pseudonyms – and a popular public speaker. She acted as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., promoting financing of education for the blind. She also trapped a brainwashing health club owner with his own subliminal suggestion gimmick. (Actually that was the Green Hornet – I just wanted to see if you were still paying attention.)


Would you believe the hymnals of Rice Memorial Chapel don’t have a single Fanny Crosby song in them?! I was flabbergasted and, yes, a little hurt. Which is why I’m using the Amoeblog to organize a grass-roots effort to encourage Rice University to include Fanny Crosby songs in their chapel hymnals. Friends! Americans! The time has come to take action! MAYBE WE CAN! MAYBE WE CAN! MAYBE WE CAN!!!



The wedding itself was a sweet affair, and the bride and groom proved their love, not only of each other, but also of us, by keeping the ceremony brief.

The reception afterwards was rad! They held it at the nearby Houston Museum of Natural Science, in the spooky and captivating Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals, where corridors of black showcased dazzling geological wonders. This proved to be not only an enchanting setting for a romantic celebration, but convenient, too, as a speakeasy. Only beer and wine was being served, you see, so the boyfriend and I, plus a handful of groomsmen and their wives, had to sneak in tiny bottles of booze.

“Is that a bottle of Chivas Regal in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?”


The Garnet & Diamond Necklace, designed by Ernesto Moreira,
to the left of which is a perfect spot to spike beverages with scotch without getting caught.

At one point, we were sitting at the cool kids’ table, eating the kind of high-class fry food you can only find in Texas. (I’m talking deep-fried scallops drizzled in garlic mayonnaise, served on a bed of rock salt, folks. God bless Texas!) The boyfriend handed me a tiny airplane-style bottle of vodka to pass down the table to the lovely Bosnian lady awaiting it. Between her and I was her husband. I stealthily took the bottle and, under the table, placed it on the man’s leg so he could continue the distribution. Instead, he looked suddenly shocked and confused, as though he’d just caught Santa dorking a reindeer. He looked at me, speechless, and I realized he had no idea I was pressing a bottle on his thigh – he thought I was copping a feel!

Once we all figured what was going on, we laughed. Well, my boyfriend and the Bosnian wife laughed – her husband and I were pretty awkward for a while, in that way that dudes get when homoeroticism is accidentally stumbled into. What tickled me the most was reconsidering his reaction, knowing what he thought was happening. I mean, if some guy sitting next to me at a dinner party suddenly placed his paw on my thigh I can’t promise I’d be as polite as he was! Later, when I smuggled a bottle of rum into his mouth with my tongue he wasn’t so startled.

The DJ, a woman unknown to both the bride and groom (who described her beforehand as a total crap-shoot) played an odd assortment of jingles, ranging from obvious wedding party pleasers…


…to more quizzical canticles…


The boyfriend had to physically hold me down when the DJ segued from Bobby Darin to the “Time Warp.”


I can’t not dance to the “Time Warp!” Even if no-one else is on the dance-floor. The boyfriend disagrees. Adamantly.

Speaking of booze (as I often am), this party wasn’t the only time on our Texas trip that my cocktails were mixed with subterfuge. We stayed at the luxurious (if somewhat notorious) Hotel Icon, in a penthouse suite that was inexplicably dubbed the Oriental Suite. The one Meiji period coffee-table aside, we couldn’t see any justification for such a moniker. Even the antique books which lined our headboard were, for whatever reason, printed in a variety of Scandinavian languages. I did my best to entertain the boyfriend by reading him Swedish musings on Eskimo culture.

Me: Eskimåerna älskar valspäck. De skaver på sina bröst och sjunga prisar.

Him: That’s what she said.


My latest love – and this will tie in, bear with me – is B&B Dom Liqueur. It’s composed of equal parts cognac to Bénédictine liqueur. Served straight-up in a brandy snifter, the scent will peel the outermost layer of your eyeballs off before coating your tongue in warm, honeyed, herbal deliciousness. After a day of eating at Texas’ own gastronomically defying Whataburger, a digestif like B&B becomes an angel of mercy.


I ordered a glass of it from the hotel bar after a long day of whatever the f*** I did that day, and took it up to our room, where the boyfriend and I snuggled into bed and watched a bit of (now-released) season one of Designing Women, because we are gay.


I was asleep before Delta Burke tearfully said goodbye to her Vietnamese foster child, Li Sing, with half my snifter still full of precious B&B.

The next morning, fearing the room service staff would abscond with my darling potation, I had the boyfriend hide it in the safe where it stayed, keeping company with a gold watch, until the following evening.


And now we’ve returned to our home. Yes, dear readers, the boyfriend and I are now living together on 8th and Curson, tucked behind what was until recently the Variety Building – an ugly piece of architecture that looks like a late 1980’s tribute to Mayan temples. Blech. Luckily, our own home is entirely lovable. Do stop by!

…But not without invitation. And never when we’re here.

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