Amoeblog

Pansy Division: Life in a Gay Rock Band

Posted by Miss Ess, June 21, 2008 01:13pm | Post a Comment

The Bay Area's own Pansy Division are the stars of a new documentary chronicling their blood, sweat and tears as one of the country's first out queer rock bands. The title of the film is, appropriately, Pansy Division: Life in a Gay Rock Band. It will have its first US festival screening this Thursday, June 26 at 7pm at the Victoria Theater as part of this year's Frameline LGBT Film Festival. For more info on the screening click here.

The film was created out of older footage and recent band member interviews and was directed by Michael Carmona. Bass player Chris Freeman has a film degree and was the editor of the film! I spoke to band member Jon Ginoli about it and he related that the documentary is "an outsider's perspective with insider's access." 

The band will be in attendance at the screening and there will be an afterparty at the fabulous Eagle Tavern, where Pansy Division will perform!

(In which Job sees something beautiful.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 25, 2008 11:38am | Post a Comment

Me and my girlfriends. Note Corey's rad Leslie Hall shirt!

Friday night I was fortunate enough to see Margaret Cho’s new show, “Beautiful”…

…This grapefruit juice tastes weird… Huh… It’s kind of hard to tell if grapefruit juice is a little “off”, because good grapefruit juice should taste a little bad…

Anyway, Corey got press tickets and he chose me to be his date for the show. Quite a coincidence, considering I’m also his boyfriend.

Once upon a time, everyone I knew was a big fan of le Cho. Lately, however, it seems a lot of hipsters have turned sour. Common complaints include that she’s co-opting the GLBT movement, and/or, her material never changes – she just revises the same routine.

These comments make me crazy. Last time I checked, the GLBT community wasn’t “so accepted” that it could afford to start being snobby about who embraced it (Kenny G coming out of the closet being a rare exception).
Cho’s self-proclaimed “queerness” transcends most sexual identifications, which may be a more evolved concept of sexuality. Personally, I find the choice between gay, straight, or bisexual to be similar to asking someone what their favorite color is: white, black, or grey?

And as far as her material being variations on the same themes? Uh, Richard Pryor didn’t just deal with race for “that one record”. Lily Tomlin’s never going to be considered for the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. Bill Cosby, Rusty Warren, Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks, Chris Rock, Sandra Bernhard… Most, if not all, stand-up comics have a consistent style and content.


So why these turn-coats? The answers that come to mind are, to me, obvious and depressing.

Luckily, Cho’s become confident enough to allow her detractors ample spewing space. I guess I’m just not as forgiving as she is.

Whatever – Sorry  about the rant. I think the weird grapefruit juice is making me cranky.

For those of you who, like me, enjoy laughing your face off, do make a point of seeing Margaret Cho’s new show. If you have no idea who she is, I’m sorry for what must have been a very boring blog entry, but you can find out by watching the clips below. There's some naughty language in these clips, though, so be certain to watch them with your children.


(In which we see the end of our Las Vegas trip.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 18, 2008 11:59am | Post a Comment

This is how we.......... yaaawn.... sssstretch.... roll.

It was our final day in Las Vegas, and Corey and I were determined to sleep through as much of it as possible. Corey is more gifted in late mornings than I, so he was impressed and pleased when my peepers didn’t pop until after eleven o’clock, ante meridiem.

We ordered room service. I had the same, slimy oatmeal mentioned previously in my blog, but this time I had it in the luxury of our suite, so okay! Everything tastes better when you have live footage of a shark tank playing on wide-screen TV.


"I'm only working The Strip to put myself through college."

Our only real schedule obligation was to vacate the room long enough for the maids to magically transform it to its virginal state. While we wandered into the lobby, wondering where we’d walk, we fortunately stumbled into a serious conversation about some dynamics in our relationship. So we sat down at a patio table outside and proceeded to communicate, sincerely.

Not only did this help illuminate certain things for each other, but it totally kept us occupied long enough for housekeeping to complete, so, once we were satisfied we understood each other, we returned to the room to continue doing as little as possible. It was a success.

That night was The Advocate’s party at Ivan Kane's Forty Deuce, Mandalay Bay’s burlesque club, which, every Monday night (as it was) hosts “Stormy Mondays” – a male burlesque show.

As Corey was one of the hosts, we were on hand ahead of time to panic and prepare, which we did, more or less in that order. I observed the go-go boys practice their routines - so bored looking, so distracted without the throngs of gay dudes and fag-hags clamoring to pad their g-strings with greenbacks. It was a very heterosexual moment for me. I started drinking scotch.

It didn’t take long for the club to fill – many of Las Vegas’ GLBT VIP had RSVP. I took refuge on the uppermost pier of the VIP lounge and made it a point to lose track of how many cocktails I’d had.


Job takes a sip of Las Vegas celebrity, Hot Chocolate.

By midnight, and with the party in full swing, Corey was contented that his work was done, and we old codgers slinked away.

One of the stories I had told Corey earlier in the day was how, as a child on my first trip to Vegas, I had seen the giant slot machines and determined that, when I was finally old enough, I would play one.

Tipsy as I was after the party, it occurred to me that, while I loathe gambling (for myself only, not in general) I should indulge that boy-child me of yesteryear and drop $20 on the giant slot machine.

We found one such behemoth and I – flying  in the face of my normal relationship with money – inserted an Andrew Johnson reserve note. I was at peace with losing it - after all, this was for my inner child - so it was especially surprising when, on my first pull, I won $30.

That was it. I was done. Far from being seduced by the possibility of even greater gains, I gleefully turned my tokens in, and Corey and I walked arm-in-arm up to our room.


The high-roller shows-off his winnings. Note the giant machine behind him.

Once inside the room, my iPod began crooning one of my favorite songs of all time: Betty Carter singing “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye”. Half-dressed, Corey and I slow-danced and realized that “this was our song”.

To appreciate this moment, you have to understand that, after over a year of being together, we had yet to discover “our song”. It was a moment so perfect, so romantic, you would have totally barfed.

The next morning, we checked out, drove back home, and I went straight to Amoeba Music for a closing shift, the bulk of which I cannot recall.

(I couldn't find footage of Betty Carter singing the above-mentioned song, so below I've included another performance of hers. Check her out, but only if you're into music that is so fantastic.)

(In which foul language is used.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 12, 2008 10:02pm | Post a Comment

The author being bullied into gambling. Note the excitement in his face. Note the sarcasm in the previous sentence.

Day two of Las Vegas saw Corey and I doing one of our favorite things: nothing.

After a breakfast of oatmeal so slimy you’d think it was an accessory for your Castle Greyskull play-set…





…we returned to the artificial beach that had been so typhoony the day before. This time it was sunny, sparkling, and crowded. Tacky house music blasted from every nook and cranny, making each action seem like a dull outtake from a beer commercial. We took refuge near a waterfall, which helped to drown out the incessant oomph – oomph – oomph

One feature I totally had a crush on was this thing they called the Lazy River, which was a stretch of pool that ran in a winding loop, with a strong current that was propelled by machines (or black magic – I didn’t actually ask). You get in this thing and you’re gently swept along with little physical effort. I decided then and there, if I’m ever a billionaire, I would buy myself a Lazy River. Then, dear reader, you and I could dive and splash and play all day, and no one could tell us to stop, because we’d just ride the current far away – safe from harm, from the voices, from the voices in our heads that tell us to kill.

Amidst all this carefree luxury, there grew in me a fear, tightening its grip, as hours past and evening drew near. You see, we had tickets to…


Cirque du Soleil.


Now, I had never seen a Cirque show, but I’d never let that stand in my way of judging them harshly. You have to keep a closed mind about things, right?

My fear was tied into my anxiety of all things “clowny”. This is not only about clowns, just behavior that I deem clowny. I don’t like circuses, carnivals, and other, similar events. I love Disneyland, but will go to great lengths to avoid the people dressed as Disney characters. The panhandlers on Hollywood Boulevard make my palms sweat and, confession time, when Amoeba Music celebrates Mardi Gras with a traditional parade, I time my fifteen minute break to allow for me to hide.

It’s nothing against these things. They bring joy and I totally think joy is rad, I just… feel incredibly… notwannabetherey when they happen.

So, when we neared the theatre and I saw ushers dressed in costumes and greeting audience members in character, I froze, and for a second I considered whether or not rushing out into the Nevada desert was an option. My behavior was moderately annoying Corey, so I put my courage to the sticking place and slipped in, careful not to make eye contact with theatre employees.

The show itself turned out to be good fun. There was one scene that genuinely excited me, because it showcased shadow-puppets.


Show-puppetry fucking rocks. It fucking rocks hard. Normally I don’t spell out cuss words in my blog, because I don’t want to offend spiritually bankrupt people, but in this case I have to make an exception and just let it out: SHADOW PUPPETS ARE FUCKING CHERRY.

After the show, Corey and I went backstage to meet Janine DeLorenzo, one of the (heh heh) instrumental people involved in Ka’s live orchestra. She was recently profiled, along with many other GLBT movers and shakers of Las Vegas, in the new issue of The Advocate.

Janine gave us a generous backstage tour. It was mind-boggling to see everything that goes into one of the productions – in some ways, behind the scenes was more astonishing than the show itself. (Though not the shadow-puppet part – that shit rocked harder than anything!)

Corey and I returned to our hotel room and snuggled up to some Mystery Science Theatre 3000, which has become our traditional, romantic, nightcap. Coincidentally, we both fell asleep for the whole night!





I dreamt that I was in a bar that was beautifully decorated with half-walls of colored, glass bottles. Kurt Cobain approached me. We exchanged pleasantries, then he asked me about his suicide and how it affected me. I was honest, and told him it made me very angry, that I hated him afterwards for doing it, though that hate eventually cooled. He listened to everything I said, looking compassionate.

I think the dream meant I need to eat more ice cream.

(Wherein your neon's flashin & your one-arm-bandits crashin.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 8, 2008 08:47pm | Post a Comment

"Say cheese"

Oh, hey! Fancy writing you here.

Where? Vegas, baby. Yours truly is currently 29 floors above desert level, tucked inside the golden, looming Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on The Strip of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Corey, the dude I’m totally in a relationship with, and I left early this morning (if you ask him) or late this morning (if you ask me) and hit the freeway.

His car’s stereo plays MP3’s, and I’m notorious for making gigantic mix CD’s for the slightest road trip. (“Oh, we’re driving to Trader Joe’s? Better burn a ‘Going to Trader Joe’s’ mix!”) Corey, who finds my ravenous appetite for music overwhelming, manages to be patient as I force hundreds of hours of tunes upon him.

A couple weeks ago we were driving back from a romantic getaway in Santa Barbara, listening to the mix I had made for our trip to Disneyland, because we had already listened to the mix for driving to Santa Barbara on the way there (you following?). The mix for driving to Disneyland was mostly chipper, romantic songs – lots of doo-wop, some schmaltzy kitsch, with some Disney songs here and there for good measure. One of the songs was “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. Corey smiled and said, “Now this is music!”



What Corey would say, as he’s said to me countless times, is that he “finds an album he likes, then listens to it over and over for weeks – maybe months – until he’s tired of it”. MP3’s containing entire discographies, however, are daunting.

Then there’s me. I’m the guy who's frustrated that iPod’s can only offer me 80 gigs of memory. (I have two – one for classical music and one for everything else. How do I live without a third iPod for jazz? It’s not easy. I sing spirituals to ease the burden of it.) Furthermore, these music libraries stay on shuffle. As I go about my day, I want Leadbelly to begat Cherrie Currie to begat Betty Carter to begat Yma Sumac to begat Germs to begat De Kift, ad infinitum.

So, when I hear Corey say “Now this is music!” in response to “Sweet Caroline”, I collect six albums by Neil Diamond, burn them into one MP3, and present it to him like it’s a Christmas goose to Tiny Tim.


I am so sorry that you're having to look at this picture.

But he’s not Tiny Tim. He’s Corey, and just because he once commented about a Neil Diamond song does not mean he wants everything the man recorded. Why can’t I get that through my handsome skull?

What does any of this have to do with Las Vegas? It’s some of what occupied my thoughts as we took the four-hour drive here.


The drive is beautiful. Mostly vast expanses of desert, broken up every eight minutes by a potty break at a gas station.

We arrived at the hotel. It was windy! Like, crazy windy – skinnier bellhops were being swept away by swift air currents. We barely made it into the lobby. We checked in, found our room, and changed into our trunks, eager to enjoy the famous “beach” of Mandalay Bay.

The beach is man-made, (un)naturally, with waterfalls, a wave-generator and tons of sand. Sounds nice, right? But you’ve already forgotten, haven’t you (as we did) about the wind storm. Instead of sunbathers and body-surfers, we entered something more akin to if-Disney-created-a-Hurricane Katrina Land.

Huge billows of sand hit us – grains stinging our skin – as we sought out a pool or hot-tub that was sheltered. When we found some that were, of course they were packed. Defeated, but laughing, we retreated. We saw five or six lifeguards (who had nothing to do because the entire beach was empty) taking refuge behind a wall, sitting huddled, looking like a human re-creation of a scene from “March of the Penguins”.


"I hear they're hiring at the Luxor MGM."

After grabbing a bite to eat, we settled back into our room, which is where I am now. The front desk mentioned that we would have a “view of the lagoon”, which we do, technically. What she neglected to mention is that the lagoon is half an acre at the base of the hotel, whereas, stretching out for miles beyond it, is the airport. Oh well. She can’t be expected to tell people they have a “lovely view of Las Vegas International Airport”.

I’m not sure which airline it is, but one of them has airplanes painted like orcas. It’s a surreal thing to be looking out on a desert horizon and suddenly see a Killer Whale go flying across the sky.

Anyway, I’ll be keeping in touch. I’m only sorry I didn’t make a “blogging from Las Vegas” mix to listen to…
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