Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Something I Wrote...In Print...Kinda

I don't do a ton of freelance writing anymore, which is a shame, since I like to write. I just don't usually enjoy the "freelance" part. But I do like the folks at Out magazine and their online incarnation, Popnography. And they graciously let me review the awesome Jennifer O'Connor's latest CD, "Here With Me." Short and sweet. Kind of like the album. Yay!

Check it out here.

More soon, including tales of the Hoosier State, Rum Runners bar, Fort Wayne, Bloomington, and an especially entertaining trip to the Chocolate Moose.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Accidental Aerialist (aka My Trapeze Photos)

I started taking trapeze classes nearly three months ago, on the suggestion of my friend Rick Andreoli, who has become a dedicated aerialist and who had done a story in a local magazine on Cirque School L.A., which was started by Aloysia Gavre, a former aerialist with Cirque du Soleil.

I figured it might be fun, given my youth spent doing gymnastics and some time in dance classes in college. But I was, frankly, not prepared to become quasi-addicted to it. Make no mistake, this is a workout (Aloysia is also a Pilates instructor), and as I've learned more about flexibility, poise, strength, and aerial choreography, I find myself simply wanting to know more.

Most people I know are not surprised I like to hang upside-down from a bar, but I don't think many know yet what it all looks like. Hence, Rick so nicely loaned his camera to a fellow classmate with the following results:

First off, we do not only learn tricks on trapeze. There's also "the tissue"/"the fabric"--a mass of red silk that'll burn you big time if you slide down it the wrong way. I'd never been able to climb anything, so this a learning curve for me:

First up, learning how to do a knee climb:

So, um, yeah... grabbing the fabric and pulling your legs up to straddle it as you flip into a pike position

Then hooking a leg onto the tissue to "lock" you into place.

The idea is that this leg locks you there so you can drop the other and then reach up to gain a hold on the next part of the tissue, drop your legs, and swing into another straddle and knee lock:

Easier said than done. I nearly fell off at one point:

But let's not linger over that. Let's talk about learning how to flip to standing and back to sitting on the trapeze. I only have pics from the low trapeze since Rick was in front of me in rotation, so he was climbing whenever I was on the high trapeze. No matter, you get the idea:

Start sitting:

Pull yourself up and over backward in a straight-leg pike (it's all about the abs, my friends):

Find the trapeze with your toes (hopefully the bar is not swinging too much) and then slowly stand up straight after:

Once standing, then you get to lean forward, straight-armed and (ideally) slowly re-pike, turning forward, and ending up sitting on the bar again:

Of course, this being all about pushing yourself, I was told to try doing walkovers forward and backward instead of piking, which makes for prettier pictures, I think, but it's much harder:

There will be more to come in the next few months, trust me. Once I learn how to connect a Mermaid to a Gazelle to a Gazelle Angel to an Arabesque, Chelsea, Iron Cross, and Russian Roll (not in that order), me and my newly acquired Capezio leggings will, along with others, be doing an exhibition here in L.A. Stay tuned.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Thursday, September 04, 2008


THAT was Sarah Palin's so-called "speech of lifetime"? A divisive, snotty, whiny diatribe that did nothing but set the stage to resurrect the '90s "culture war" moniker?

What a load of crap. So apparently we come right back to where we started--with people who conflate church and state and just want a president who will do their bidding on social issues they've never even bothered to think about beyond what they've been told by others. God forbid we think about this country's stand in the world and how the hell we are going to deal with it. No, by all means, let's fixate instead on a woman who apparently can gut a fish while giving birth.

I do love that gender is being taken off the table a bit here, and that Palin just gets to be an asshole because she's an asshole (and an asshole who apparently never took that whole Republican Party "Teach Abstinence" campaign to heart, but that's OK because her family has enough money to deal with the situation, as well as enough money to deal with the medical demands that come with having a child with a disability, unlike, say, millions of others).

The Republican Party's standing on social issues has never been more self-serving, full of double standards, and appalling. Palin was chosen precisely because she could "legitimize" these views. If you can put a pretty woman--who clearly dreams, still, of being on "Designing Women"--on a national stage and have her yell "YAY, GOD!" and "BOO, ABORTION!" then you motivate a group that did not want to vote for McCain previously. Pretty simple/standard PR and Marketing 101. Plus, when women tell other women what to do with their bodies, everyone gets confused and thus we distract from horrifying scenarios, such as Palin holding diplomatic talks with any leaders from the Middle East.

I just woke up with a sour taste in my throat. And I am angry. I am sick of both parties at this point, but the Republicans are simply repugnant. No vision. Nothing but continued hate and fear mongering and telling people of this country how they should live their lives to be considered "good." (I have yet for anyone to explain to me, too, how Republicans who are "fiscal conservatives" are actually helping the country as a whole in the long term.) It's patronizing, dumbed-down smoke and mirrors tactics that ultimately only divide the country into Us and Them. Only now it's coming from an old man whose ego has outstripped his common sense and a VP candidate who's essentially "Mean Mommy." If this is how we're supposed to "make history" (i.e., by not electing Obama) then I guess too many people in this country are simply OK with identifying with their captors.