Tuesday, August 30, 2011


"What costs more: a home in San Francisco's Sunset District, or a wheelchair ramp in the Board of Supervisors' chambers? If you picked the house, you're wrong."

Matier & Ross' column castigates the SF Supervisors for the ongoing drama about a ramp to be built to accommodate Supervisor Angela Alioto-Pier and other wheelchair users in the chambers.

Alioto-Pier, who is paraplegic, threatened to sue over this ramp back in '08, when the Board initially rejected the $1.1 million price tag. The ramp, now costing more than most homes - even in the Bay Area - has become an economic embarrassment, some say.

SFist anklebites with coverage of the 300-plus cranky comments on SFgate's website.

One comment sums it up: "This is not about access or ramps. It is about the super bloviated hot air and global warming that is local government in San Francisco."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Breath of Life

More than anything, writing is about sacrifice.

This post isn't about the novel Every time I Think of You specifically, but more the why of writing.

Why did I wake up at four in the morning one cold January night, stirred by a strange series of dream scenes, and begin cranking out the first meager chapters of the book? Why did I dare to start another novel, when four more lay waiting in boxes of years-old print-outs and in multiple back-up versions in my computer? Why am I laboring over another sentimental nostalgic "coming of age" story?

Because the Muse demanded it?

I just got back from seeing Jewelle Gomez's new play, Waiting for Giovanni, at New Conservatory Theatre Center. I love going to see plays there, not only because Artistic Director Ed Decker commissioned the stage adaptation of PINS for a 2002 production. That turned out to be one of the most fruitful, exciting and frustrating experiences in years. And yet, I'm happy about it, and thankful to everyone involved in the production.

But also, I love the feeling of anticipation of walking those few convenient blocks from my home to the theatre, wondering, 'Will I see great art tonight?'

Well, I did.

Let me backtrack. About fifteen years ago, I drove with Jewelle to an East Bay women's bookstore, where both of us read from our contributions to the LGBT science fiction anthology Swords of the Rainbow.

Knowing of Jewelle's acclaimed work, I was a bit daunted, and expectedly, the audience was about 30 women -fans of Jewelle- and one man. I asked to go first, figuring they'd all leave if Jewelle read first, and while they were polite, I was humbled by the comparatively rapt attention they paid to her work, and not mine.

Jump ahead to tonight, and a packed appreciative audience seemed to love her play, based on the writings and parts of the life of the great author James Baldwin, and how he struggled with finishing Giovanni's Room.

By the time you read this, that production will have closed, but no doubt a new one will be staged elsewhere. See it. For writers in particular, although most of us will never achieve what Baldwin did, never face the struggles he endured, it's still inspirational.

The moments that brought me to tears involved the interaction with Baldwin (played to perfection by Wm. Hunter) and his muse, Giovanni (the handsome Liam Hughes). What could have been cliché moments were handled with such deft passion, such...jeez, I'm not doing a theatre review... "critics be damned!"

The point is, I got the point. (Double use of word; rewrite!) You have to listen to your muses. To ignore them, and put the work aside, particularly when it's calling you, begging you to give it life, is a crime of artlessness.

My comparatively tiny story about two boys in 1970s Pennsylvania won't go away. What I'd set out as a mere exercise - to crank out 1,000 words a day until I finished a novel - has now become a twelfth draft, edited (pro bono!) with precision by a dear friend. It scares me to type the wrong words, to swerve from the breath of life downward to mere hot air.

But I will persist, aware, like Baldwin, in my small way, of "the market" while paring my thoughts down to the core of the story. But at my best, I shut out those thoughts, the selfish need for acclaim, ad sales, and just welcome the muses; my boys, Reid and Everett.

So, instead of going out to another bar, where I'm sure to get a free drink, or be on the guest list at another fun nightclub, tonight I'm home, in my sweatpants, returning to the work.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


This is an adorable blog post by a mother of a six-year-old kid who has a crush on 'Blaine' from Glee.
"This isn’t a ‘he thinks Blaine is really cool’ kind of love. It is a mooning at a picture of Blaine’s face for a half hour followed by a wistful “He’s so pretty” kind of love.

He loves the episode where two boys kiss. My son will call people in from other parts of the house to make sure they don’t miss his ‘favorite part.’ He’s been known to rewind it and watch it over again…and force other to, as well, if he doesn’t think people have been paying enough attention.

This infatuation doesn’t bother me or his father. We live in a very hip-liberal neighborhood, many of our friends are gay, and idea of having a gay son isn’t something that bothers either of us. Our son is going to be who he is, and it is our job to love him. End of story."

I make mention of a character in "Every Time..." telling a story about how his very young son one day announced that he wanted to marry his friend. You'll have to read the book to find out who it is.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


A nice LA Times article about gay rights pioneer Lee Glaze being honored by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Nice wheels, Lee!

"Despite his physical ailments, Glaze is a live wire, whizzing around his building in an electric wheelchair and peppering fellow residents with greetings. He also laments that some of his more able-bodied neighbors in this elderly community aren't nearly as active as he is.

"'These queens," he said. "They're just so old!'"

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Wheel to Reel


Director Michael Akers and writer Sandon Berg are completing a film called Morgan, about a gay bartender who becomes paraplegic after a cycling accident.

Here's an article about some test screenings they did in Philadelphia.

Here's the film website.

I can't say I'm not a tad jealous. Here I am still making final corrections on my as-yet-unpublished book, my screenplay for PINS lays dormant and un-produced, and they're wrapping what may be a groundbreaking feature film.

No, I should be happy that this issue is part of a new visibility trend for LGBT people with disabilities. It'll be interesting to see how they handle these issues.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fooling Yourself

While the song isn't played in the course of the book, the album is referenced. I just realized that a few lyrics are ironic in context of the plot.

Unrelated, but of interest, here's my 2006 interview with (now) out gay former bass player Chuck Panazzo, who now sometimes tours with the re-formed version of the band. He was also one of celebrity ambassadors at Gay Games VII in Chicago. It was so neat to meet him there.

Oh, and the day I posted this, I noticed that there was a ticket sales link on YouYube for their concert in Concord tonight. As I type this, they're probably playing this song.

Personally, Styx was one of those amazing '70s bands that inspired me to learn to play the piano. But that's another novel!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

'Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky

"A quadriplegic skydiver died in a tragic weekend accident when his disability prevented him from manually deploying his parachute. His emergency chute was also not set to automatically release, said officials on Monday.

Zack Fogle, 27, plunged 18,000 feet to his death on Saturday when his parachute did not open during a jump at a skydiving festival in northwestern Montana. Fogle, who had completed more than 125 jumps in the past five years." (read more)

Several news stories covered the tragedy here and elsewhere. Ability News combines links to several articles.

(Zach Fogle after a previous successful jump)

Why is this getting so much coverage? Is it because he was handsome? Yes. A quadriplegic? Yes. The angle is easy when non-disabled writers feel the need to justify or even judge Fogle's adventurous daredevil life.

One column stands out on The Stir. From writer Jeanne Sager:

"It could be inferred by the massive amount of media attention to Fogle's story that his handicapped status somehow made this tragedy different. It's certainly an interesting bit of information. The journalist in me admits it couldn't have been left out. When I read Fogle was unable to reach his emergency cord in time, I'll admit curiosity made me wonder, 'Did his lack of mobility play a role here?'"

"Zach Fogle decided he wanted to be a skydiver. He made that choice. It's very sad that he died while doing it. But he didn't die because he's a quadriplegic. He died because he's a guy who wanted to try a risky sport."

It's not just sad that a man who defied limitations died doing what he loved, and knew how to do expertly. It's sad that most people with no disabilities suffer from not living their lives to the fullest.

Fogle's motto was "Live to the point of tears."

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mat-ter of Fact

Okay, this is just neat as all get out.

It's like PINS and Every Time I Think of You had a baby boy.

Here's prolific photographer Matt Roth's photo essay about Cliff McCormick, Towson High school's 103-pound wrestler with cerebral palsy.

Here's an article from 2009 about McCormick.

a quote:

“He is the reason we have sports in our public schools,” [physical education teacher, Bill] Yosca said. “Sports teach more than textbooks – they teach about life.” Simmonds emphasizes dedication and “a willingness to get in there and do it” as a few of the important lessons that Cliff has learned.

Here's a brief clip of Cliff being awarded a pin at a match.