Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Birthday Dinner WIth Ayhan In The Nabe

Ayhan and I celebrated my birthday a day late, since he was working all weekend while I was in the Hamptons. Had a grand dinner at Italian restaurant Armando's just two blocks from home on Montague Street. The joint was originally founded in 1936, shuttered in 2008, and following the hasty retreat of pitiful replacement sammich chain Spicy Pickle, Armando's modernized its space and reopened Monday, Sept. 28, with a glorious, upscale menu and a bar that is open until midnight—something sorely lacking in this ultra-conservative nabe of Brooklyn Heights. Truly felt like being somewhere brand new in a locale only steps from home. Grade-A experience.Myhan and meese in my birthday sweater. Note I got my first haircut today since being laid off in March. No moe Farrah Fawcett wings, thank god!Home again with a sweet Archie... as opposed to the snapping Archie. Our bi-polar new family member is unpredictable, so I take advantage whenever I might of his agreeable moments. When he is good, he is so very good.Aw, man, a double dose of Maltese... our dear Kirby, at 17, who still has as much fight in her as Mike Tyson (granted she has both ears, but no teeth), and 6-year-old rescue Archie. We're up to a week and two days now and still playing the two-steps-forward, three-steps-backward with the latter's disposition. Professional behavior counseling is in the cards; I so want this critter to develop the unconditional love that us humans treasure our critters for.Ayhan and his lady Kirby, who, every time he returns from work, becomes a spinning little princess. She's breathing hard and heavy, but seems to be working through about her 12th life now. Weak body, but tenacious will, that's for sure.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thank You To...

Welcome to the millennial techno-birthday! I'd like to thank a handful of folks for their HB greetings... This is what is possible in an era when friends have innumerable portals, whether Facebook, e-mail, texts and cell phone messages, in addition to old-fashioned (real) phone calls, actual cards printed on paper and (imagine) a face-to-face celebration... I'm truly amazed and actually not in the least cynical about this. Are you kidding? I feel like the most beloved cool cat in the world. And that, after all, is what birthdays are: a friend's one special day. I loved every sentiment.

So (breathe in)... many thanks for the warm birthday wishes to all well-wishers: (in no particular order, promise!) Evelyn & Dan, Chris & Judy, Lisa & Matthew, Donna Mae Moose, Trixmoose, Aliceee, Leonard, Liz D., Sidi, Latif, Jeffrey, Debra, Caroline, Michael P., Moxie Moose & Family (thanks for the song!), Cynthia, Perry & David, Marky Mark M., Alex Z. (Happy birthday, too!), Alex V., David P., Linakins, Shelli, Tilawanda, Jim R., Karl V., Christa, Shannon, Phylli, Minverva, Pook, Jim Galli, Paulie P., Cara, Timmy & Bobby, Donna D., Kilgour, Emmy, Ken S. (happy birthday, too!), Jose, Jimbo, Emrah, Viv & Dan, Patrick & Tina, Ellen, Diane, Barbara, Anna, Katy, Allieicious, Fredly, Michael M., Teddy & Chris, Peter Z., Beanie, Christian, Geoff, Cathy, Brian G., Lucy, Melanie, Lori, Cindy, Valerie, Michele, Stephen S., Joe G., Peach, Vinny, Brandi & Ray, Rashaun, Karine & Ed, Ceren, Emre, Mitch, Naomi, Ryan, Lisa A., Alison, Danny, Pascale, David B., Amy, Brian G., Debbie, Ahmet, Susan, Margo, Olga, J.T., Anthony C., Mike B., Havelock, Lisa S.M., Cheryl, Yesim, Michael J., Christina, Jen, Raffaella, Hillary, Matt, Tara, Jones & Jack, Julia, Priscilla, Carter, Ro-Ro, Wayne, Mary Kim, Ken Tucker, Adam, Regan, Frank, Powell, Lisa Liu, Sylvia S., Nicola, Tommy Page, Lori B.C., Bill & Mary, Randy, Paul A., Andy Pink, Gail, Suzzette, Jerry, Cesar, Greg, Delvis, Tinatin, Cathy the Weiner, Ella, Corrine, Billbo, Chris T., Marc, Bebe, Paula, Dylan... and everyone else! Oh yeah, and Ayhan, my forever sunflower. If I somehow left out your name, um, blame Google? (Okay, exhale.)

Thanks to the power of Facebook and beyond, these birthday wishes came from folks I’ve known since 1976 (that’s you, Jimbo) and practically every year since... to those I’ve come to love in 2010. This is what makes life a worthy adventure, huh?... still connecting with so many who knew you when, while persistently turning the page as new allies ignite fresh adventures. It’s goddamn good to be alive.

Much love,

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mr. Barton's Delectable Digs

Leonard's stunning, meticulously groomed garden in Southampton Village. He has plants that would make fabulous drag names!Inside the house... a chicken... no, wait, obviously a rooster.Leonard's self portrait.Archie meets Liz D.'s Jasmine and Coco!

Birthday Celebration Southampton Style

Leonard hosted a dinner party Saturday evening to celebrate my birthday. A rousing good time.My buddy Archie.My buddy Kendrick's.Sidi, Latif, meese and Liz D.Debra, Liz and meese.Leonard and Debra.Sidi, Debra, Leonard, Liz, meese, Archie and Latif.Take two!Leonard and meese.Meese with Leonard.Dancehall daze!Mr. Latif.Sidi and Archie.Liz D. and meese.Sidi, Latif and meese.

Thanks For All The Good Wishes!

Phone calls, text messages, Facebook, e-mails... it's been mighty gratifying, however the message was delivered. Thanks, cool cats!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Archie's Flush Fetish!

I recorded Archie's fave activity on video today to share with the world. Here's the connection:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Return To Paradise

I have returned to Southampton for my birthday weekend, sadly without Ayhan, who is working like a mad dog... and speaking of, Archie is making his first road trip. Staying with lovely Leonard and couldn't be happier to be back in paradise.Meese, Archie, Leonard, Diane, Barbara, Coco and Liz D.!Same names, with subtraction of meese and addition of Jeffrey.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Times Square Civility

Geez, when I arrived in New York in 1995, 42nd Street was wholly shut down as Mayor Guliani was set on cleaning up Times Square. Next thing we knew, the Disney Store opened, followed by an endless array of national retailers... from Applebee's and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum to McDonald's and Regal Movie theaters. Hello, Cleveland! This ain't news, but it is fascinating to see how civilized Times Square is now, with bistro tables and chairs set up along Broadway and Seventh Avenue. It's just downright bizarro.

Archie & Kirby... A Pair Of Maltese

Etcetara Etcetara With Jim Galli

God, how long have Jim Galli and I been friends? We met back in the D.C. days in the mid-1980s. Mercy. It's been a couple months since we've reunited, and tonight, Jim took me to his fave restaurant in Midtown, Etcetera Etcetara and treated me to an early birthday dinner. As ever, there was never a moment's silence in the conversation as we motored through a good 500 topics.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Theater Of The Absurd

It wasn't enough that Ayhan and I traipsed up to the Barnes & Noble at Lincoln Center to Lina Koutrakos' CD signing and performance for her disc "The Low Country"—only to find out that the event is actually next Wednesday. It was truly to be a comedy of errors last evening.

Ayhan and I were invited to the English-language debut of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus' hit Swedish musical "Kristina," in a concert staging at Carnegie Hall. The four leads for the performance were Helen Sjöholm, who originated the role in Sweden; popular British tenor Russell Watson; Broadway vet Kevin Odekirk ("Les Miserables"); and our beloved Louise Pitre, a favorite of Benny and Bjorn, who commandeered the lead role in "Mamma Mia!" on Broadway in 2001, and received a Tony nod for the role."Kristina," originally staged in Sweden in 1995, winning four Swedish Tonys, is adapted from "The Emigrants," a series of renowned novels depicting the story of an extended family that departs Sweden for the wilds of Minnesota in the 1850s. The two-night performance at Carnegie Hall is obviously a hopeful lead-in for the production to ultimately end up on Broadway.Ayhan had seen the original production—in Swedish—and warned me that it was three-and-a-half hours long. Seeing it staged in a concert setting, admittedly, was somewhat trying at times, particularly since I held little empathy for the lead character, who just seemed to bitch a lot about how dry it was in Sweden, only to then complain when the family searched out "greener pastures" in the States. It didn't help that despite nearly starving to death, she kept popping out kids like corn on a cob. I mean, live within your means, sister, you know?

Anyways, Ayhan and I were invited to the after-party event, and when the production peaked after 90 minutes, we were delighted to storm the stairs for champagne and the opportunity to see his idols, Benny and Bjorn. We joined some 75 folks... there's Bjorn, where's Benny?... and why does this woman keep parading around the room, smacking on these bells, for god's sake?

After little more than 10 minutes, we were good and irritated when the room was cleared. "So that's it? That's the champagne toast?" Boy, what a letdown that was... Ayhan and I stopped by the restroom and headed for the door... As we heard music and saw a screen at the entrance, he asked, "Wait, was is that?" I replied, "They must be playing a DVD of the show... wait, isn't that in English?"

Sure enough, we two were witnessing... Act II! Boy, it certainly seemed like the story had peaked when we took our leave... but no, there was another 90 minutes ensuing! Oops! We shyly returned to our seats, giggling like buffoons, and realized the error of our ways. And guess what? There was a full-on second champagne event at the end—the real end, complete with the full cast and an award presented to Benny and Bjorn. We also got to chat with Louise, which is always fun; she is quite the broad.

Only one way to sum it all up: Dumb and Dumber! But a good time was had, nonetheless.

Smoking Nun On

One of my daily reads is Sent them a little news bite, which they published on the site. Neato.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Kirby & Archie Together At Last (Okay, After Four Days)

I've been waiting to capture this moment since Archie arrived with us on Saturday night. For sure, he and our fellow Maltese Kirby are not best buds yet, but this is an endearing moment, and it gives me hope that grandma and the young'un will ultimately bond.