Saturday, July 19, 2008

THE PORN ULTIMATUM

You can’t go home again.

One wonders whether this rather clichéd expression also applies to places that one doesn’t necessarily think of as “home” per se but has merely visited, albeit with lasting consequence. Does it, for example, hold sway over a borrowed loft in a strange city where one may have worked one’s way through the gay Kama Sutra and several sets of Frette sheets during a memorably sordid weekend of misspent lust several years ago?



I must admit this thought entered my mind when the lovely people at “Frameline” kindly invited me to attend the West Coast Premiere of my recent motion picture extravaganza “On The Other Hand, Death” during their recent San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.



But, given that my last visit to the town where Tony Bennett left his heart had consisted of half a dozen dark restaurants and a view of the ceiling of the aforementioned loft, I decided to cast all reservations aside and fling myself at the chance to finally see the City By The Bay without having my vision obstructed by common carnality, not to mention a pair of thighs which were, as I recall, strong enough to crack coconuts.



In a remarkable coincidence one of the stars of the film, my spiritual advisor Dr. Nelson Wong-



- had only days earlier moved his traveling collection of Spider Man Toys and Zach Efron Pop-Up books (don't ask) into the Guest Room at 801, taking a weeklong break from the grim excuse for summer weather that had been raining down on his home town of Vancouver, British Columbia since May. Our days had been filled with exhausting intellectual pursuit of course, exploring the local culture -



- getting in touch with our inner voices -



- applauding the ingenuity of the American Entrepreneur (did you, dear reader, know that the exotic Mai Tai cocktail was actually INVENTED in California?) -



- and had climaxed in a rousing game of something called "Judge Judy Bingo" so named because it was presided over by a drag queen in an ill-fitting wig and a robe left over from a depression-era high school graduation ceremony -



- so I was reluctant to mention the festival's invitation for fear of taxing my house guest beyond his limits.



But in spite of his higher calling, Dr. Wong is actually the kind of attention seeker who will attend the opening of toilet seat if it has his name on it; he was already packing for San Francisco before I'd hung up the phone. So, with a kiss goodbye to the Boyfriend, whose responsibilities as a Prominent Desert Business Man kept him home -



- we ventured out past the protective fichus trees of my desert paradise and on to meet our adoring public.



Stopping in the Palm Springs Airport Lounge for some liquid sustenance to keep us going during the exhausting forty two minute trip –



- one gets so TERRIBLY dehydrated on these long flights - we made our way toward the Golden Gate via Alaska Airlines without, I am pleased to report, serious incident.

This isn't to say there weren't the usual collection of badly dressed ex-Bus Patrons onboard, and I counted at least three whining infants in various stages of colic when I took my regular observational anti-Terrorist stroll back through Coach Class.



Why these tiny demons aren’t by law sedated, stuffed in a Cat Box and placed in the luggage hold is beyond me; probably some absurd Human Rights issue but I for one would be more than willing to tear up my ACLU membership card if it meant keeping the little bastards off my flights and in some Persian sweatshop making rugs where they belong!



Knowing my distaste for the current grade of commercial air travelers several of my readers have kindly sent along news clippings regarding a certain Southwest Airlines flight, where a rather generously proportioned woman -



- her dentally challenged sister -



- and what appears to have been two dozen psychopathically misbehaving toddlers -



- were kicked off the plane and dis-invited to continue their journey.



It was expected, of course, that I would make some withering comment regarding the incident on these pages, but frankly this specific case seems just a tad too obvious. While I applaud Southwest for trying to maintain a hick-free travel environment, I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole thing was actually set up by DELTA Airlines to attract the white trash dollar. Given how the middle class real estate bubble is bursting in America right now, the only people who can afford to fly anymore are the ones who don’t waste their money on such useless items as birth control and soap.



Upon landing we were whisked to our Union Square hotel by our driver, a volunteer with the festival who, at the urging of Dr. Wong, gave us the low down on several of the city’s seedier boites, particularly the ones specializing in a, shall we say, “fresher” clientele than is the norm.



It chagrins me to admit that my spiritual advisor has a weakness for what are in the gay parlance called “Twinks", men who are, while of legal age, still young enough to distract even the most devout Catholic priest.

As if this weren’t already sordid enough, he’s also a fan of one “Brent Corrigan”, a barely post-pubescent "art film" performer whose ouevre includes such epics as “Bareboned Twinks” -



- and “Casting Couch 4” (one can only imagine what questions remained unanswered in Casting Couches One through Three…), and whose "colorful" past includes some rather dubious legal choices involving rumors of kiddie porn and murder. Not exactly what Monsieur Melies had in mind, I suppose, but at least the boy's not making "Norbit 2".

None of this seemed to concern Dr. Wong when, as we walked to the premiere of our film at the historic Castro Theater -



- he spotted a poster advertising young Mr. Corrigan’s upcoming appearance at a local lounge – and by “upcoming” I mean THAT VERY NIGHT.



Tears formed in Nelson's eyes as he realized he was going to have to make one of the most difficult decisions of his life:



- the choice between attending an event he had dreamed of for years, to enjoy viewing something over which he had sweated and strained for countless hours…or to just stay at the Castro and watch our film.

He opted for future employment in the motion picture industry and walked into the theater with me.



It was, however, a very twitchy actor indeed who, after helping me introduce the picture, sat through the 86 minute running time all but praying for the end credits to roll quickly; I hadn't seen him that excited about anything since Target announced it was selling "Transformer" toys for sixty percent off the list price.



Not even the tumultuous applause at the movie's end nor the flattering comments from the crowd after the obligatory question and answer session could distract him -



- and I could barely keep up as he bolted from the stage and raced off in search of his Onanistic Idol.

Now I know what you're thinking, dear reader; why on earth was I following along on what was clearly a mission of degenerate intent? Well, as anyone will tell you, meeting the object of one’s fantasies in the flesh can often have unexpected consequences, and so while I had no interest whatsoever in attending what was certainly going to be a most lurid cabaret, I felt it was best to chaperone Nelson during the potentially soul damaging experience of visiting a room full of lithe, nearly-naked young men. I didn’t WANT to be there, of course, but in typical Gandhi-like fashion I felt I had to give of myself under the circumstances.



The atmosphere in the bar seemed surprisingly less bacchanalic than I expected; given the promise of fresh young satyrs in underpants gyrating inches from their faces, the clientele appeared singularly humorless.



From their dour expressions, not to mention the fact that the median age in the room leaned toward triple digits, it looked less like an evening in a strip club and more like an afternoon at a discount hip replacement clinic.

Even when the young "performers" took to the postage-stamp sized stage to begin their show, the crowd barely turned from their Vodka and Metamucil cocktails long enough to appraise the wares on display.



Not so, however, for Dr. Wong. When the Boy Of His Dreams finally stepped up onto the platform, it was as if time itself stood still for him.



And while not to my tastes, what with his suspiciously blond hair brushed forward as if to hide an already receding hairline and his face frozen in a not entirely successful attempt at a Bambi-like look of wide-eyed innocence, I can certainly understand Mr. Corrigan's appeal.



I can also appreciate his business acumen; far from being a "victim" of the Porn Game, this young man has taken advantage of his undeniable skills and turned them into a hugely marketable commodity, licensing and distributing his own "wares", even producing and directing his own films. In this way he's no different than any Wall Street Broker or corporate CEO; he just shows up at his "office" in slightly less clothing.



I won’t burden you, dear reader, with all the gory details of the remainder of the night. Let’s just say I kept a stiff upper lip through the entire experience, and even managed to do my part to support the local theater community.



And while it wasn’t an entirely unpleasant evening, it certainly was a far cry from my earlier San Francisco sojourn.

I guess it’s true after all – you really CAN’T go home again. Because, while the bodies may have been equally limber this time around, I don’t recall having to spend quite so much money to crack coconuts in that loft.

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