Category Archives: Video

A semi-final word…

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have an announcement to make. I am in a relationship. It’s something really special. No, we didn’t make a mad rush to the courthouse to get married before election day. But despite the devastating outcome of California’s Prop. 8 (same-sex marriage ban), my relationship is still valid. I guarantee it is real. I’m not just pretending. Jeff is a real, live person. He and I have been together for over three years. He is a man and I am a man. We are a couple. No amendment to the state constitution can change that.

I first came out about 10 years ago. I came out to friends and family about 8 years ago. Yet, after all this time, I am amazed at how many people still don’t take it seriously. Folks, I’m gay. Sure, I went to Bible College and even “dated” a few girls, but, let me be clear: I am gay.

In reflecting over the last 16 years since I went to college, I felt like many of my friends from that time deserved to know what happened with me. After all, I spent a lot of time in college lying to myself and to them. We all deserved some honesty. Why did I leave the Church? How could I be gay? Over the last several years, I have spent a lot of time explaining myself to my friends from Bible College. For the few that actually read this blog, let me say: I’m moving on. No more apologies for past lies. No more sugar-coating things to make you more comfortable. With the passing of Prop. 8, I’m officially done. I tried to do the right thing and apologize for any hurt I may have caused. I’ve realized that you cannot always trust people to do the right thing. Now, hopefully we can trust the court system to protect us.

I realize that very few of my college friends actually live in California and couldn’t even vote on the proposition. But, many have made their feelings clear anyway. They don’t want equality. They don’t even want to validate gay relationships. They do this every time they call Jeff my “friend,” every time they suggest that I “date Jesus.” Whenever someone whispers “gay” as if it’s an inappropriate or dirty word only to say it loud and clear when they are using it to mean “stupid” or “dumb,” that is offensive.

Please understand that we will eventually have the right to marry. One day it will be considered completely normal for some people to be gay and society will not force that same part of the population to make unrealistic and devastating decisions about their sexuality at such a young age. I hope that when it happens and you feel for the 1,000th time that this country is falling apart; I hope that you remember you contributed to those struggles. I hope that you look up and see your weapon of choice, the Bible, aimed aggressively at me. Maybe then you’ll realize that you can’t make everyone see the world as you do.

Actually, I’m not asking for your acceptance or support. You don’t even need to agree with my beliefs. I’m just asking for you to cease fire. Stop attacking in the name of God, country, and, family. I can’t think of anything that would be more productive to your cause.

I should mention that some of the most supportive and loving people that I know are friends from Bible College. I am so thankful for those few. You right the wrongs with your love and kindness toward the gay community. Thank you.

Please take 6 and 1/2 minutes and watch Keith Olbermann’s eloquent, passionate, and powerful commentary on the passing of Prop. 8.

Christians, Part 3

OK, I swear, I will try to stop creating these Christian posts. My last post pushed my blog view count to over 1,000. It’s like adding Palin to the GOP ticket. All of a sudden, everyone gets excited and interested, or worried and annoyed–take your pick. I just put that track counter on my blog about 2 months ago. That’s pretty good for a small, unknown personal blog, don’t ya think? The video was pulled from Youtube and now even The Way International’s website. I guess they weren’t enjoying the attention. So, you’ll just have to take my word from it–it was freakin’ hilarious.

I think what surprises me the most about that last post was that so many people commented on it. It’s a shame they pulled it from Youtube. I didn’t want people to be left hanging, so thanks to my friend Genilyn, here is another real gem.

A few more notes…

1) Sonseed… really??? Doesn’t exactly create a good mental image.

2) “He taught me how to praise God and still rock-n-roll…” I can only assume he is referring to this pseudo polka/reggae/ska music. wow.

3) I think the guy playing guitar on the left might possibly be barefoot. He must be a recovering hippie.

4) My favorite line of the whole song:

“…he touched me down inside. He is like a mounty, he always gets his man, and he’ll zap you anyway he can…zap!”

That last line pretty much leaves me speechless.

The Final Days of RENT

I originally wrote this post at the end of May. The amazing and legendary Broadway musical RENT was scheduled to close June 1 and, due to good ticket sales, was thrown a life line until this weekend. It’s now time for RENT to close after 5,123 performances on Broadway since it opened on April 29, 1996. That makes it the 7th longest running show in Broadway history.

RENT is closing on Broadway on September 7, 2008. This may not seem that big of a deal to many of you, hardly even “blog-worthy.” But for me it is the end of one of the best musicals to ever perform on Broadway. You see, RENT was my first Broadway show. I saw it in November of 1997 and it’s the reason for my love of musical theater. My friend Cathy and I went and saw it at the Majestic Theater in Dallas, Texas. I was working several weekends a month at a church in Texas. I would drive an hour and a half to Tulsa, Oklahoma, from Joplin, Missouri, and then fly to Dallas for the weekend to work at a church where I was the worship leader. I’m not sure why a church would pay to have a college student come so far, but they did. The escape from Bible college and the sense of being a jet-setter were amazing. The church was hoping I would come there full-time after graduation. In reality, the whole experience not only introduced me to my current employer, but it also gave me the flying bug.

Anyway, my point is that this was a transitional time for me. I was finishing up my six years at Ozark Christian College and dealing with all of the gay issues I’ve previously written about. At this point in my journey, I hadn’t come out of the closet. Going to see RENT was like giving me a peek into a world that I didn’t even know existed. A beautiful world of drag queens and queers (I mean that in a good way), a world where it was not only OK to be gay, but fabulously OK. It was a world in which people broke into song and dance for no apparent reason. This was my world. Stunned and, frankly, a little giddy, I sat on the edge of my seat for most of the performance.

I don’t know if Cathy ever knew that I loved it this much because as soon as we left the Majestic I had to get back into “Christian Music Pastor” mode. But, the seed had been planted. And that’s why this musical has been so important to me. It provided me with something I had been longing for–gay life–in all of it’s vibrant color and spectacular diversity. For several years RENT was the only ingredient in my musical theater diet. It was the appetizer, the main course, and the dessert.

I remember the following months in the Bible college dorm as other music students began to discover this musical. You could hear “Seasons of Love” floating out of their rooms. You could also hear the abrupt change in volume when the phrase “mucho masturbation” was supposed to be shouting from “La Vie Boheme.” Some songs really could never be played–at least through speakers. I suppose there is a very strange irony in a bunch of Bible college students drooling over a musical not just filled with sex, but sex with the same sex. And, don’t forget all of the colorful language and the topic of HIV/AIDS that permeates RENT.

But we couldn’t help ourselves. This was an amazing piece of work. I wanted to be Mark, one of the lead roles. And in some ways, I developed his sort of quirky, bohemian sense of style. All in all, I’ve seen RENT three times on stage. That hardly makes me a “RENT-head,” but I don’t think it diminishes my love for the show. When the movie came out, I paid to see it three times. When I bought the DVD and watched the accompanying Jonthan Larson documentary, I cried so hard that I thought I was going to hyperventilate. My love runs deep. So I’ll always hold a very special place in my heart for this musical that means so much to me. We have history.

goodbye, love, goodbye…

RENT links:

Original New York Times review of the show

A Photographer’s journal of RENT from the New York Times

RENT’s website siteforrent.com

Wikipedia’s RENT page

The original cast recording on Amazon.com

Gays on Parade

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle this morning was titled: Gawking Tourists Not Welcome in the Castro. I laughed out loud. I guess the days of priding ourselves on our differences are gone.

I do know exactly what the article was talking about, however. For months now, double-decker tourist buses have been driving through the heart of the Castro. And recently, they are actually letting the tourists out. There goes the neighborhood. I will admit it always makes me giggle a little when I’m dragging my laundry to the laundry mat or walking to the store and the bus roles by at about 10 miles an hour. I’m curious just how many pictures I’m in. I’d love to read the caption in their scrapbook. It might possibly read:

Here’s Henry and me… amongst the homosexuals.

-or-

Here’s a picture of one dragging his laundry along like a homeless person.

-or-

…and the homosexuals go grocery shopping, too!

I can almost picture Margaret and Henry sitting in a doily-filled living room showing off their scrapbook to friends.

According to the article, the real problem is that the tour bus companies have recently changed their route to allow for a 20-minute stop in the Castro. People are getting off the bus and moving about the Castro in groups of 30 or so intensely-afraid tourists. I have seen them. But, I think it’s great. If we want people to view the GLBT community as humans, real people, they need to see that we are just like everyone else. Right? Of course, not all communities have men dressed up as flamboyant nuns or hunky men dressed up as Jesus on Easter.

I’m just surprised that there is an uproar at all. After all, tourism is–ok, I’m sorry… side note here. As I was typing this at my café, a double-decker tour bus just rolled by full of gray-haired folks–anyway, tourism is San Francisco’s life blood. It has kept many of our businesses afloat.

I guess these days gays are trying so hard to be considered normal that they don’t want people to see their differences. With the vote on the same-sex marriage ban looming, many are afraid that if people think all we do is just run around in the nude having sex behind bushes, they won’t want to support our relationships. But, I think that if we have to sacrifice our culture, which is sexual, but actually much more, what have we gained? So, in that vein–gays on parade–I decided to share some of the footage I shot from this year’s San Francisco GLBT Pride Parade:

Estelle Getty

I’m a little ashamed, frankly, that it’s taken me over a week to make note of Estelle Getty’s passing. She is known best for her Golden Girls’ role as Sophia–the quick-witted, sassy mother of Bea Arthur’s character Dorothy. Estelle passed away three days shy of her 85th birthday, after a long battle with Lewy Body Dementia. Although Estelle has been out of the public eye for several years because of her failing health, she will be greatly missed.

I am a self-proclaimed Golden Girls fanatic. There are those who might view this as a major character flaw. I believe it just shows that I have good taste in television. Yes, I do own all seven seasons of the series. No, I do not watch it everyday…anymore. There was a time when the ‘girls’ were just the medicine I needed for feeling blue. Now, their campy jokes just brighten my day and my knowledge of the show provides countless hours of sitcom trivia.

My favorite Sophia moment is from the episode where she and Dorothy dress up as “Sonny and Cher” for the mother/daughter beauty pageant. The two sing “I Got You Babe.” You’ve also got to love all of her “picture it…” moments–stories from Brooklyn or Sicily.

Here’s one of my favorite scenes…

Modeling with Pain

By now you probably know that I am completely obsessed with America’s Next Top Model, starring one Miss Tyra Banks. Love it. Seriously. And, if somehow you’ve missed this sensation that has swept across the nation, please do the world a favor and click on the link in my first sentence to visit the website. Or, watch just one episode. They constantly replay them on MTV. You’ll be a better person for it. And I promise that you won’t be let down.

I think people sometimes don’t get my sarcasm. You really should know that I enjoy ANTM mostly for its comedic value. In general, that’s why I love most of reality TV so much. The funniest stuff is the stuff that you just can’t make up. Like when a reality “star” says something that is beyond outrageous and impossible to take out of context.

For instance, not too long ago, Kimberly from The Real World: Hollywood used the words “blackville” and “ghetto” in the same sentence to describe another cast member she didn’t like. It was all very typical, spoiled, white, Texan girl behavior. I saw the clip on one of those reality recap shows on E. I haven’t actually watched “The Real World” for about the last 10 seasons. I remember watching it when the title wasn’t ironic. At least in this season the cast members are honest about their intentions–they’re all trying to “make it” in various parts of the show biz industry. Maybe it’s gone back to gettin’ real. I may just add it to my DVR list for next season. 😉

I love it when I read in a reality show cast member’s bio that they’ve “moved to LA and are trying to make it in the industry.” Really? What part of getting drunk and allowing cameras tape you while you pee in a corner qualifies you to be an actor? But, then again, “actors” are even taking the “reality” show plunge these days. So, who am I to try and define what it means to be an actor?

Oh, fiddlesticks. I got off topic again. Crap. I hate when that happens. I was supposed to be talking about Tyra Banks and ANTM. This is what happens when I drink too much coffee and just let my fingers do the talking while I am actually people watching. Some days I get a little unfocused. At least, I’m not at home trying to do this while the TV is on–that’s always a disaster. Ok, soTyra.

Part-way through this past season, Tyra had the “models” do a little exercise with her. She taught the girls how to come up with poses when they couldn’t think of what to do. Evidently, this happens a lot in the modeling world. She starts out by walking the catwalk with them, showing off her fancy moves. Then she fakes a sprained ankle and segues into what she calls “Modeling with Pain.” Oh, Tyra! Now, there’s a real actress. She had all those models fooled, and we all know how difficult that is. I would love to post the clip of this, but, I think you should look it up for yourself. You’ve got to see the wealth of ANTM clips that are on YouTube. Search: “modeling with pain” or just “ANTM.” You’ll be amazed by what appears.

I was watching the show with Jeff, and we both just knew that we had to do this. It was too rich to pass up. We started calling out different types of pain for the other to pose. It was a pose-off. Jeff took it a step further and decided that we should have a few of our friends over and make a “game night” out of it. I’m proud to present the condensed version of the video we created from that night. This is what happens when you combine 5 gay men, a modeling “game”, a video camera, and several cosmos. We had so much fun doing this. I admit that I got a little bit bossy with my “modeling directions.” I blame it on the drinks…

275 Smiles

Lately, I have been attempting to “green-up” my life by reading my newspapers online instead of buying them. I realized that I usually only skim through most of the paper anyway, so why buy it? And, I like to read different things from different papers. For instance, I like to read the Money section from USA Today. But, I like to get the world and national news from The New York Times. I get my local news from The San Francisco Chronicle. It just seemed ridiculous to buy three newspapers and read only part of each one, especially when I can get the exact same articles online. Plus, the newspaper sites update the news throughout the day and often have video to go along with the articles. So, there you have it.

Anyway, so I was reading the Times last week and came across an interesting article about Tyra Banks entitled Banksable. I’ve included the link to the video portion because I can’t get a copy of the video that is with it any other way. And, that’s the whole purpose of this post. Tyra says she has extensively studied and rehearsed the smile. And, better yet, her list of “perfected” smiles has evolved into a complete set of just 275. 275 smiles! OK, you all know by now that Tyra Banks has provided me with countless hours of enjoyment. I should send her a “thank you” JibJab (remember, I’m keeping it green.) Which reminds me, check out Jib-Jab. It’s much better than sending regular ecards. You can even put you and your friends faces in videos. Love it. Here’s the Christmas Video I sent out to some of my friends last Christmas:

Anyway, I’ve totally gone off-topic. Crap. Where was I? Oh yes, Tyra’s 275 smiles! 🙂 When you watch the video from The New York Times Magazine article, you’ll be happy to see that she has narrowed it down to just a few important smiles for us. And, I say “why?” Why not give us all 275 smiles, Tyra. Or, are you waiting to put them all in a book? This all got me thinking, “I, too, have several key smiles.” This is what led me to do another fabulous photo shoot for you. I doubt any of these are a part of Tyra’s 275. And, it brings me great pleasure to introduce you to Tyler’s 5 Key Smiles ®:

1) The “Mary Murphy” Smile (from So You Think You Can Dance)
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2) The “3rd grade” Smile (This is what my school picture from 3rd grade looked like)
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3) The “Oh You…” Smile (Oh you…stop it, you always say the funniest things. Also known as the “Renee Zellweger” Smile)
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4) The “I Need a Bathroom” Smile (This look really says it all)
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5) The “Old Geezer” Smile (This one really hurts to do–use with caution)

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