Archives for posts with tag: Hudson

Hudson, NY 2015 winter.  I moved into the Princess Beatrix House, owned by Tanja Grunert and Klemens Gasser.   The ice so thick on their un-ploughed drive it’s almost impossible for the tiny Mexican movers from sunny California to negotiate the heavier items from the pantechnicon to the house.  They wear my Knole sofa like a huge hat.  It is bitterly cold yet these foolhardy boys brave the day dressed only in thin, grubby tee shirts and flimsy, cheap sneakers, skidding up and down the icy drive.  They are totally unprepared for the winter delivery.

Before I arrived in Hudson, NY I had never heard of Eric Galloway, Eleanor Ambos, Tim Dunleavy, Warren Street, Modern Farmer, Anne Marie Gardner, the Bonfiglio bakery… or the slew of slippery realtors wheeling and dealing all over town.

I didn’t know the Basilica or Helsinki or Etsy.   I didn’t know the darker side of hipster culture, the craving of desperate, lonely females and the clawing misery of gay men trapped upstate in search of a better, freer life.

The only person I knew ahead of my 9 months in Hudson was Marina Abramovic.  And it was she who piqued my interest the very first time my friend Tom Taylor showed me the building Marina had acquired, the building Rem Koolhas had been charged with transforming into a ‘laboratory devoted to performance art’ funded by 12 million crowd sourced dollars.

The Old Tennis Court on the corner of North 7th Street and Columbia Street in Hudson, NY owned by Marina Abramovic, stands forlorn, peeling and abandoned.  The windows boarded, trash blown under the grand portico.   It waits, warehoused like so many building in Hudson, for it’s owner to come renovate, repair or make good the myth of Marina Abramovic transforming this imposing building into her performance art institute.

Tom Taylor, stopped his beaten truck outside the building.  After several weeks of heavy snow and bitterly cold nights a wall of ice stood between us and the building.  He was excited to show me, telling a story I would hear many, many times from equally excited local people.

2.

Upstate New York .  Cheap, fertile land… derelict 18th and 19th century houses desperate for attention.  Abandoned red brick factories.  The promise of space and sanctuary.

My first visit to Woodstock, with cabaret star Lady Rizo three Christmases ago, my first real taste of life beyond NYC.  The thick white, blindingly white snow, the mountains, rivers and forests a welcome respite from 12 years of endless summer in Southern California.

I returned the following winter to the same charming stone house and started looking for a home to buy.  Property prices were very low.  As usual I was tempted by obscure, isolated locations but did not give in to that melancholic fantasy.

It was an invitation from Tom Taylor to Eleanor Ambos’s huge Victorian pile in Philmont that finally ignited my passion.  I’d met him on some dating app in the city when I spent that mad winter in the Captains House in Brooklyn.  After months of asking me to visit I finally bundled me and the dogs into the rental car and headed north.

Tom is the right hand man and beneficiary of Eleanor Ambos’s valuable real estate portfolio.  Her notable possessions:  the Pocket Book factory in Hudson and The Metropolitan Building on Long Island.

“It is as if she doesn’t hear the same music that everyone else is hearing,” says director Andrew Michael Ellis of 89-year-old Eleanor Ambos. In his documentary short Ellis follows the eccentric aesthete as she loses her eyesight to macular degeneration.

Eleanor bought the dilapidated Metropolitan Building on Long Island in 1980 as a cheap alternative to the area’s warehouses to store her vast and growing collection of salvaged antiques. The octogenarian owner caught Ellis’ eye while he was shooting there. “She had no intention of being a subject in a film at first, but eventually I became her friend, therapist, practically her lover. It was impossible to be a fly on the wall.”

The month I met her she had bought a 72,000 square foot mid century modern school in Claverack.    The day I arrived to see it she was laying a delicate floral carpet in the hallway.  “I like playing house.” she purred.  And that, my dear friends, is what attracts people to her and repels people from her.  I introduce her to the thin lipped owners of the Gilded Owl in Hudson, a most pretentious ‘gallery’ curated by interior fluffer Andy Goldsworthy and down and dirty art trader Elizabeth Moore.

THE GILDED OWL is an online journal exploring craftsmanship in modern and contemporary design, fine art, fashion, and music. Inspired by authenticity, ingenuity, and above all, quality, Andy and Elizabeth Moore continually investigate subjects of fascination and enlighten their readers as to what makes the beautiful beautiful.

And if that description isn’t enough to make you puke… Elizabeth, Andy and I visited an Ambos property (they were both eager to see) namely the magical Summit Mill in Philmont with Eleanor and Tom.  After the visit Andy and Elizabeth couldn’t wait to kick the snow off their moon boots and rip into Eleanor’s aesthetic, her hoarding and wonder how other people could find her so fascinating.

3.

Hudson has a rich history of despair. The ghosts of a thousand hookers, gamblers and dismembered whales join those native American souls murdered here for their land. Something very bad happened in Hudson, something catastrophic… something that has scarred its psyche, blighted the land and poisoned the air.  Those who spend a weekend in Hudson seldom notice it, those who live there become irradiated… toxic.

Resentment and vitriol.  The Hudson cancer… is much reserved for one successful Hudson businessman: Eric Galloway.

I visit Hudson only occasionally.  I walk Warren Street, much of it owned, to the chagrin of those impoverished white people who live there, by the stately Eric Galloway and his billionaire boyfriend Henry Van Ameringen.

At the very heart of the contempt for these acquisitive gentleman is racism.  Eric Galloway is an angular, elegant black man and the despair white people have (who are not benefiting from his patronage) often descends into barely concealed racism.

‘Educated’ white folk who think they know better about architecture, who keep tabs on each purchase Galloway and Van Ameringen make all over the world.  Tanja Grunert and others could barely contain themselves when Galloway bought much loved and recently deceased (owner of the fanciful store Rural Residence) Tim Dunlevey’s iconic Union Street home.

“That disgusting man bought Tim’s house.” She said.

Yet, who was Tim’s ex boyfriend meant to sell?  The poor white people who couldn’t afford it?  Or, the contentious black man who could?

4.

This past year Hudson’s ‘revival’ (one of so many) has continued with renewed vigor.  The expensive, beautifully designed River Town Lodge opened at the top of Warren Street.  Farmer’s restaurant on Front Street spared no expense on its warm and elegant interior, bravely situated in a less salubrious part of Hudson and lastly the airy bar Or on 3rd and Union Street enjoys enormous success in a beautifully renovated 1930’s garage.  All quality establishments, some owned by Eric and Henry.

These small businesses are the future of Hudson.  Other larger businesses are sniffing around.  Soho House are discussing the possibility of opening in Eleanor Ambos’s Pocketbook Factory.  A whirl of invesment and optimism… yet, The Old Tennis Courts on the corner of North 7th Street and Columbia Street in Hudson, NY owned by Marina Abramovic remains forlorn and empty.

As painful as it is, it’s time for everyone in Hudson, NY to accept the truth:  Marina Abramovic isn’t coming.

 


 I took a picture of this boy last night.  He is fucking gorgeous.

1.

There is something all at once despicable and wonderful about small town living.  Small town people are small town people for a reason. They are exactly the same the whole world over… unless they’re living a double life (NYC and Upstate) after a few years… their brains begin to atrophy.  They are left behind, destined for a life of small minded, tight-lipped misery.

Hudson is just like Whitstable.  I’m used to the small town narrative.

Like Whitstable, every weekend Hudson fills with the fabulous and the not so fabulous.  They arrive on packed trains from the city and in expensive SUVs.  Yet, it is those stuck upstate season after season toiling year after year in Hudson or in outlying communities that are most damaged.  As hard as I try steering myself clear from these half baked personalities and the inevitable drama, one is drawn to both like a moth to a flame.

They, the hapless year-rounders, want to know you as much as they don’t want to know you.  When they meet you they quickly establish if you are a threat to their superiority.  They want to feel superior.  They gobble up half-truths on google.  They regurgitate everything they think they know to whom ever will listen.

As I’ve written previously it is with neurotic, heterosexual, single, childless women that I have most trouble.

This week I had a run in with a woman who was in the habit of dumping dog shit over her fence and onto my land, then there’s a female fag-hag realtor related to the Woolworth family and recently fired from her realty business… after meeting me she called her ex relatives in Hollywood to spread misinformation… and then… most tragically an ex editor who limps from crowd to crowd soliciting sympathy for her bad choices wherever and whenever she can.

The realtor, Pamela Murphy is the poor cousin of producer Cassian Elwes rich ex-wife.  She used to work for the very posh Hudson realtor Mary Mullane.  The first time I met Pamela she spent an hour degrading Mary (who fired her) in a way I knew she would eventually degrade me.  When it happened (as I knew it would) I called and reminded her that her shrill, unsophisticated demeanor had caused her to be a terminally single fag hag.  That and her obvious alcohol abuse problem.

Hudson heterosexual males aren’t so bad.  I’ve met a good-looking dog whisperer and an ex LA gay for pay property developer.

Mind you, the weekenders are not immune from pettiness. The ‘blond’ art dealer and her gay business partner have a couple of drinks and abuse her hapless husband.  The slim, gay interior decorator with floppy hair confides that his business partner’s husband is lazy, that he doesn’t have a job, that the art dealer supports him… that she should never have married him.

That’s the problem with gay men… they want their best women pals married to them.

Listen, I am in opposition to most things.  A legacy from fighting for my gay life since I was 13 years old.  You don’t like gays?  Fuck you.  You don’t want gay people to shove their lifestyle down your throat?  Let me shove this gay shit down your fucking throat.

2.

I meet everyone who passes through Hudson.  Bumping into legendary Micky Wolfson and iconic Joseph Holtzman the creator of Nest magazine, or the terrible Rob Roth (momentarily without Deborah Harry’s balls in his mouth) but escorting the totally insane Parker Posey.  Sticking out her hand.  “Hello, my name is Parker Posey.”

So, when I bumped into Bruce Cohen and Gabe his charming, much younger husband and their adorable daughter on Warren Street last weekend I was not entirely surprised.   Bruce is looking haggard.  He still has shoulder length, curly blond thinning hair, he looks like a straight stoner who can’t bring himself to get another look.  As if his long curly blond hair defines who he is.

He’s a great producer but seemingly no longer with producing partner Dan Jinks.  Remember it was they who asked me to direct Liberace starring Michael Keaton.  Anyway, I wondered what he was up to and he said he was developing a gay history series with Dustin ‘Lance’ Black and Cleve Jones.  I nearly threw up my breakfast.  I couldn’t think of anything worse than a Lance Black gay history series created to ‘educate’ straight people.  A Lance Black whitewashing of our history from the arbitrary starting point of Stonewall.  I went on… why are you working with that idiot?  Why not George Chauncey, Neil Bartlett, Stephen Fry… anyone but fucking Lance Black and Cleve Jones.  Thankfully Bruce’s husband agreed.

And what about gay people of color I asked?  Queer culture?  Oh, Bruce reassured me, “We have a black man,” adding weakly, “We’re telling his story.”  But let’s face it.  Bruce and Lance aren’t interested telling the black gay story… because this show is for white straight people.  What about lesbians I demanded?  He buckled.  Realizing that his white gay male documentary was going to be a big pile of exclusionary SHIT.

It galls me that people like Lance and Bruce get to tell our history… where were they when I was being visible at 13?  Where were they when others were taking direct action for Outrage or Act Up?  I’ll tell you what they were doing… they were hiding under the covers.  Cowed by religiosity and gay fear.

I register their distaste.  These gays.  These cowardly white gays.  Those white gays who rode on the coat tails of those of us who confronted the status quo.  Whilst I was reminding straight people in the 1980’s how lucky they were to enjoy our clubs and bars, whilst I let them know that I did not enjoy the same privileges they took for granted… and risked their violent ire.  Bruce and Lance were thinking only of themselves, propping up the white patriarchy.

Whilst i was making queer films and queer plays for queer people without deferring to straight people… men like Bruce and Lance and every gay male agent I met at all the big Hollywood talent agencies were telling me to stop telling queer stories because there was no future in it.  Future = Money.

Catalina

The day is bright and humid.  The endless hum of lawn mowers, all summer long.  The grass grows lush and green.  The trees heavy with monstrous leaves and creeping vines.  Gold and purple wild flowers a meter high at the side of the road: Golden Rod, Deptford Pink and Bouncing Bet.

The Hudson River meanders gently toward the city, decorated at its marshy edge with great swathes of invasive water chestnut.  Feeding the lazy Hudson River, fast moving creeks course down the mountain, over shallow rocky beds and over the curvaceous, verdant landscape, dramatic water falls, giddy tributaries.  Vast, flat abandoned reservoirs formerly providing local industry with renewable energy.  Magnificent 19th Century, red brick factories stand empty, patiently waiting for a thousand weavers to march through the mahogany doors and start weaving again.

The land like the water resources here in upstate New York remains mostly uncultivated.  That California with no water still provides America with the majority of its fruit and vegetables while this verdant place remains fallow.

No lawn mowers in the Santa Monica Mountains.  Just the wheeling of the hawks, the booming crash of the waves at night rolling up the canyon with the morning mist.  They ask me if I miss Malibu.  They wonder why I would trade Malibu for this.  I had 12 good years in LA before I had my last rather complicated… year and a bit.  Do I miss it?  No, not really.  I miss my house, I miss slopping around that huge room.  Looking at the ocean.  The dogs finding patches of sunlight.  I don’t miss the rattlesnakes or the coyote.  I don’t miss the brush clearance.  I don’t miss the winding road to the PCH.  I miss the prestige of having the house.  I do.

Misty Morning

The magnificent pines at the back of the house, the Brazilian Orchid Tree, the figs, lemons and cherimoya.   I wonder who takes care of the carp?  I wonder if the gophers invaded the garden this year?  I wonder if they fixed everything I never got around to?

As one grows older it is harder to make sense of change.  Rapid, inexplicable change.  This is the great secret of the third age.  We are less adaptable.  We seek comfort and safely.   It is hard to imagine what will come next.Final Day

This morning the Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality is the law of the land.

Now that the marriage equality battle has been won, let’s see if gay white men can talk about the needs of other people… like women and people of color.  Let’s see if they can confront their own racism and misogyny?

Shame on those gay men who sneered at the brave trans woman Jennicet Gutiérrez who confronted President Obama at his cozy lgbtq brunch!  Jennicet was violently berated by gay white men for shouting at the president.  As it turns out there is no polite way to be heard over the chorus of gay white men sucking on President Obama’s ass.

As I found out when I was housed in the LA County Jail trans women are regularly abused by the deputies charged with their protection.  As I have written before I saw women made to lap dance for deputies, their breasts fondled… and on two occasions I saw trans women beaten for no reason.

I had a long walk through Provincetown with Queer Director of Paris is Burning, Jennie Livingston.  We had a lovely time.  I talked at length about my own gender issues, the therapy I was having and my ultimate conclusion about the trans community.

Jennie Livingston

For me, I do not believe (after two years of therapy) that I can accurately claim that there is another me trapped in the wrong body.  I do not have a women’s brain, I do not have the experience of being a woman or a girl.  I do have the experience of being an effeminate homosexual.  I have the experience of attraction to hyper masculine men or straight men.  I know gay men who had breast implants and hormone therapy to act on those desires, to recreate themselves so that they might be more attractive to straight men.  I did not.

I can tell you absolutely that there is a soul I wish to make free that seeks to escape my body but it is not the soul of a woman.  I can tell you that as I grow older I can finally admit that I have no relationship with my penis.  I can tell you that if I were to have had gender reassignment therapy as a young man I would have identified as bisexual because I seek the comfort and strength of a straight man and the love and affection of a woman.  Neither would expect me, in my ideal world, to have a penis.

My Spring Kilt

Why isn’t it ok to say this:  Rather than adopt the definitive gender of a man or woman as per the current trans agenda (as I understand it) I prefer to wear the clothes of my choice, to have plastic surgery that remakes my face and body as I see fit (as do millions of men and women world-wide) and change pronouns as befits my understanding of the way I want to be perceived… that I am a creation of my own delight.  I am NOT a biological woman trapped in an unyielding male shell but an all together more exotic creature who loves to express myself as I shall determine.  I was never a little girl, I do NOT have a woman’s brain.  I am my own special creation.

I do not need your validation to be who I am.  But I do need you to treat me and people like me with care, consideration and respect.

On occasions when I have dressed and worn make up two things happened:  I was told that I was ‘too masculine’ to be anything other than a man.  And on one occasion a so-called enlightened cabaret performer saw fit to remove my make up at the dinner table.  I did not have the luxury of Bruce Jenner’s effortless apotheosis.

Here is a spring album to cheer you up.

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The plane is landing.  I can feel something in my belly.  It begins as a dull thud, worsening… as if a hand is gripping onto something inside me.  The pain radiates into my back, sharpening as it reaches my flank.  I breath deeply because the seat belts have to be fastened.  As we hit the land I feel nauseous and sweaty.  My heart is racing.  Then I am asleep.  We have landed, they are already waiting with their hand luggage.  The woman besides me lets me know that it’s time to leave the aircraft.  I walk to the carousel to pick up my luggage.  I lean in to fetch my second bag and I faint.  As my head hits the woman beside me, breaking my fall, I wake up.  An asian woman fetches me a small bottle of water.  I get a taxi into town and wonder what I should do.  I call the hospital and the insurance company. For the next few hours I wait in the emergency room.  They check everything and finally refer me to a pancreatic specialist.  A few days later I meet him.  He is personable, he wants to do very specific tests to my pancreas. A week later I am laying in the hospital.  Before I am taken on the gurney into the room where the complicated tests will take place the kindly doctor says, “I’ll only perform a biopsy if we find something nasty.”   I lay calmly.  The anesthetist asks how I’m feeling.  I wasn’t really feeling anything.   I feel the first flush of anesthetic.  “Oh, am I going under?”  I giggle like I’m drunk.  She said, laughing, “It’s just like two glasses of wine, that’s what I’ve given you… two glasses of wine.”  And that’s what it felt like.  Two glasses of wine.  When I wake up he has performed a biopsy.  So, I endure ten days of waiting before I find out everything is ok.  Everything is fine.

1.

For months… I’ve not written my blog. But urgent commentary needs listened to sooner… rather than later.

I didn’t care about the implication of the biopsy. Because I’m a pathetic alcoholic the first thing I say to my friend who is there to escort me home?  “They gave me two glasses of wine!”

This observation masked my real concern. I am thinking about other, more important, more… pressing issues. Issues that have plagued me for years.  When I think I am in love… nothing really matters.

I wanted to know the result but I was not wedded to it. I wasn’t in a relationship with the result.  Until it’s delivered. I stay out of the result.  It’s none of my business… until it is.

2.

I still think about it.

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This is a picture of a barn I am buying.

3.

I’m early at the club for breakfast. It’s empty save for the worlds most beautiful boy lounging on an oversized velvet sofa. I catch the eye of the beautiful boy.  There are always beautiful boys.  But some of them send out something unexplained that I can catch hold of and make mine.  If only for a few moments.

We hover around the breakfast spread, he’s pretending to choose juice.

I want to tell him how handsome he is but I ask him instead about his grapefruit juice.

We sit on the sofa and gaze at each other and he tells me everything without saying a single word. He says, “Nobody knows about me. Nobody can ever know. Will you do to me what men can do? Together?” Instead of saying no, instead of telling him that this isn’t going to work… instead of saying fuck off beautiful boy because you are going to break my heart… again.

Instead of saying no. After the hospital, after the first round of scans and shit. We’re on a train to Hudson. His huge feet and hands and thighs… brushing up against me.  We are on a train and I am overwhelmed with expectation. He says, we are just going to cuddle but we end up in a hotel room in Tivoli doing everything I had longed to do when I first looked into his big green eyes and I think to myself. Let me love you. Let me fall in love with you just as long as you are here.

“Duncan, are you insane? Can’t you hear the melancholy, wailing sirens warning ’bout the rocks in the ocean.”

“Don’t blind me, guide me through the foggy night.” I implore.

Roy told investigators that he saw waves breaking on the reef and turned abruptly, swinging the side of the hull into the reef.

“I have to take responsibility for the fact that I made a judgment error… I ordered the turn too late.”

The night became the morning and the dawn rose over two tangled bodies. He is a perfect man. His hairy chest and wrists. His red lips, his thighs wrapped around my neck. His huge white alabaster cock so far down my throat, I could hear him gasp with pleasure.  He is a professional athlete, he speaks six languages, he is vain and arrogant and lies about money… and other silly things but none of it matters when you look into his big green eyes and you fall… fall in love.

He adds yeast to every story he tells. He says, “I’m adding yeast to this story. It’s not big enough. It needs to be BIGGER.”

He stays with me for four blissful days. Of course there are complications. He mimics my accent because he speaks six languages and he wants to speak mine. He pretends to be English at dinner with my friends. He’s behaving like a dick. Why? Of course there are complications. We talk about his gay father, I teach him to have compassion and forgiveness. I teach him how to forgive his father.  There are complications because he is managing his honesty like some people manage their money.  He is out to his parents but not out to everyone else.  He wants the best job but knows he can’t have it… if he’s gay.

We talk about a defining celebrity incident (him and some girl) written all over the internet. It’s funny, the lies written about him are funny and endearing.

We dress him up in my clothes. We buy him gallons of green juice. We introduce him to friends and acquaintances. We attend an AA meeting. We fight about money. He recalls his one year relationship with a boy he met on-line with a drink and drug problem. He describes the terrible fights. His inability to leave. Did he love the boy? Has he ever loved a man?

I tell him that I love him. We make love. He cums a great deal. I don’t spill a drop.

The following day he tells me that a certain shirt I have picked out to wear is ‘too gay’.  I can’t be seen with him wearing that.  I suppress my annoyance.  I want to hold on to this gift as long as I can.  But all at the same time I’m boiling over because this is the same sort of gay man who defends a trans person’s right to be themselves… but not mine.  This is the contradiction of being a modern, white gay man.

At a candle lit dinner in the Palladian mansion of a local baron, his mother texts him. She has the dirt… on me. All those ghastly queens leaving anonymous lies all over the internet, she’s picking through them like a beggar over land fill. It’s not her fault. She has to save him. And eventually… she does.

I am forced to ditch the bonhomie and explain myself, explain why there’s so much out there. That I didn’t care. I say, “You shouldn’t care!” But he does. That’s my public life. You, for the time being, are my private life.  There’s a silent drive home. There’s nothing I can do to placate him.

I meet two kinds of gay people… those who care about what they read… and those who don’t. Those who care are worried that others might judge them for knowing me. They are scared. Scared that the perfect gay veneer of their lives will be shattered irrevocably by me. Especially the gays. Radical straight people think I’m a fucking hero… but the gays are seldom radical.  Increasingly right-wing, closed-minded, striving for perfection.

He balked. I reminded him there were lies written about him too… but soon realized that on those lies he had built his brand. It suited his closet to be lined with clippings from a moment in time when others had lied about him and he refused to disabuse them. The truth is… his mother would rather he date a meth addict than me.

Bruce Jenner becomes Caitlin Jenner and makes a perfect argument for reinvention. Aren’t we all trapped in the wrong body? Why shouldn’t we all build our authentic selves? Live our own truths?

His truth was up to him… my truth, as it turned out, was up to his mother and google.

After a few days he leaves with my heart and my Rolex. He texts occasionally.  He tells me not to introduce him to anyone, that we can only meet on our own.  He lists things we cannot mention if we are with other people.

“I’m scared you’re going to write my name in your blog and post pictures of me.”

I am inspired to write my blog, I haven’t written it for months.  I’m trying to wean myself away from you my darling blog.  A few days after… he intimates that I’m just a meaningless interlude, an elderly uncle he wouldn’t mind having breakfast with if it suits his schedule.  It is dawning on me (I’m a fool) that he wanted someone richer, more powerful, less controversial, a larger apartment in Manhattan.  He already dated a billionaire, he has the numbers of famous actors in his phone.  Yes.  Like so many young white gay men… he’s looking for a merger and an acquisition.  Later that week we bump into each other at the club.  I’m with my German friend, he scoffs (in German) at how many women I’ve slept with.  He assumes I don’t understand.

He speaks six languages but doesn’t expect me to understand any of them.

So, I hit the rocks and capsize. I had a fair warning.

We crammed a five-year, gay love affair into four days. It’s all I can expect. It’s all I know. The beautiful man is gone and I am left with beautiful pictures… and another story to write.

5.
Hudson, where I have been spending the majority of my time, is a small town crammed with big personalities. The older gay men are sour and drunk. The ancient art dealer is ‘scary’, the realtor is a ‘bitch’ the antiques sales man has nowhere else to run… run out of New York City. I am familiar with men like this and on the whole sympathetic.  These men are too old and too single to find someone to marry or buy into the modern gay aspiration of family, children and heteronormativity.  It is particularly sad because they fought hard for others to enjoy freedom and equality but now stand on the outside of gay life.

Equality came to late for many of these men.  I understand their bitterness.

Someone asked me at dinner what I thought of Hudson.  Well, I looked at him for a second.  “It’s not what you think.”  I explained my problem.  There are a large number of successful women in their late forties and fifties on the hunt for appropriate men.  I have never felt so assailed by straight women as I do in Hudson.

It is an almost daily occurrence: coming out to some disappointed women who wants to fuck me. One woman, when she found out I was queer… was utterly infuriated. “You should wear a sign on your head.”  She spat.  For those of you who don’t know… queer men have to come out a lot, some times everyday, throughout their lives. Coming out is NOT a one shot deal unless you’re famous.

Carolyn Roumeguere is tall and French. She has a broad face, flowing hair and wears cowboy boots and mini skirts… even in mid winter. Raised in Africa, Carolyn is a local Amazonian socialite. Ostensibly a jewelry designer she lives in a converted barn crammed with bad African art.

I met Carolyn at the local bakery. She was making a huge racket about something or other, inviting comment. She looked coquettishly at me and asked if I were English when she heard me ordering coffee. Within three minutes she was sobbing on my shoulder about the death of her husband and how incredibly, indescribably difficult her life was since his death. She bemoaned how hard she worked to raise their three children, to build her home and guest house. Her life as a widow seemed intolerable. I fully conceded that her life must be horrible and held her in my arms.

She took my number, invited me to her house that very afternoon and went on her way. I didn’t go to her house. I resisted her invitations for a week or so. After a week, I thought, she would have googled me and found out everything she needed to know to make a decision about whether she wanted to get more involved.

Finally, I accepted her invitation. The night of the dinner my car died. I had a friend drop me off at Carolyn’s house.

From the moment I entered the house I knew I was in the wrong place. The party was ghastly, the food unpalatable, the ten guests a bunch of humorless wax works. I sat between an ex magazine editor recently jettisoned (publicly and cruelly) by her misogynistic publisher and a Russian oligarch’s wife.

The Russian was scouting for a liberal art school for her daughter. She was imperious as only the Russians can be. As it turned out (a little Internet sleuthing) she is very close to President Putin. She told us that Putin ‘laughs at America’ and ‘sneers at black Obama’.

Opposite, sat a thin, elderly woman whose pinched, wrinkled face peered at me curiously as she sucked on the over cooked salmon. She claimed to be a film financier, she told elaborate independent film stories. She sat with her ruddy, land owning boyfriend. When she couldn’t remember one of her dull stories she would prod her farmer consort to furnish details that slipped her mind.

Beside the elderly film financier sat a slack-jawed, floppy haired English public school boy called James Holland (well into his fifties) who claimed loudly that he was in love with Diandra Douglas.  James told stories about Diandra and how funny it was that they took drugs before visiting Diandra’s addict son in prison. I have no idea if his claims were true. He’s the sort of Englishman abroad who paints a more colorful picture than the sepia life he actually lives.  He grilled me about my schooling. I told him that I went to an unknown hippy school in Dorset. “Bryanston?” He barked. The salmon swam back up my throat on a river of piquant Hollandaise.

The louche forty-five year old woman to the left of the editor draped over the back of her chair.  Her un-washed… matted hair, her velveteen pant suit smelling of sweat and vodka. She shared unsolicited details of her upcoming wedding to a wild Italian called Giancarlo. The plans included tequila shots, narcotics, Ayahuasca and an orgy.  Giancarlo is the film making partner of Tao Ruspoli the Italian aristocrat formerly married to Olivia Wilde.  Miss Louche couldn’t understand why I would want to give up drinking… or drugs.  Perhaps, I thought, because I don’t want to look like you.

There were other less memorable men around the table… one being Carolyn’s current beau. Then, incongruously… a young, boy/man with huge arms, thighs and a brooding disposition. The boy sat protectively by Carolyn. I wondered if this hunk was her son? It turns out that this boy is just one of Carolyn’s many sexual conquests.  The 20-year-old son of her best friend who predatory Carolyn had seduced whilst he was a sculpture major at Bard College.

I applauded Carolyn’s sexual tenacity, yet, for the first time, after hearing about the seduction of the boy,  I felt rather sorry for her. Years of going to sex addict meetings I concluded that she and I have many… similarities. A string of sexual encounters with inappropriate local men have led her nowhere.  She is Powerless over her addiction and her life is Unmanageable.

Carolyn’s precocious son sat in another room.  A deeply unhappy looking child. This sullen, perilously over weight pre-teen, demanded our adult attention by hitting things with a measuring tape.  He told us loudly some scientific fact he had researched on the Internet and how he knew more than his teachers. I quietly asked the ex-editor if the son has Asperger syndrome. She looked sadly at the child, “She won’t take him to a therapist.” she confided.  A bad mother never wants to take her child to a therapist knowing that is it she and not the child that will have to do the hard work it takes to make a child well again.

I wanted to call a cab but the ex-editor very kindly offered to drive me home.

On our way to Hudson I told her how I’d met Carolyn and how ghastly I thought both she, her friends and the party. I told her Carolyn had cried on my shoulder in the bakery. She laughed, she told me that Carolyn and her husband had been separated for years… they weren’t even married… that he was married to someone else with whom he had a child.

“So, she uses her husband’s death as a lure? For sympathy?” I asked. She smiled and refused to answer.

Meanwhile, in Hudson, a straight rich South American man says my films would be ‘so much better’ if they were about straight people.  Lordy, I hadn’t heard that sort of crap for a long time.   I gently chided him,  how insulting he was being.  What a prick!  I asked him if he thought white people playing Latin roles might make films better too?  He shuts the fuck up.

Hudson Art Party

This is a picture of a beautiful art party at the Basilica.

6.

Finally, it is impossible not to mention the continuing race atrocity here in the USA after the shooting deaths of 8 black people in a Charleston church during an evening prayer meeting.  A young, blond white boy with racist and apartheid sympathies takes his gun and kills innocent black people.  There is an outpouring of grief from my white friends on Facebook.  Yet, few of them address their own racism.  They say, the kid who pulled the trigger looks like the devil.  The problem is, this kid did not look like he came from hell, on the contrary… he just looks like any ordinary white boy. It is his ordinariness that is shocking. It is his stated racist intention that is shocking. But what is more shocking are all the white folk who cannot bring themselves to address his racism or their own. They say. There are no words. Yes, there are words. Words used by the right include: accident, mistake, loner. Words like, they deserved what they got because they wouldn’t have guns in their church. He is just another entitled white boy who hates black people because he can. Look at the haunted expressions of prescription drug addicted teens who commit these atrocities. A parade of white American faces on the TV who refuse to address their own racism. Whilst the black victims family say words like, forgive, reconciliation and prayer. It isn’t good enough to tell everyone else that they are racist without owning up to the racism that affects my own psyche. Pervasive and insidious racism that gets worse every year I live in the USA.  To my gay friends I say this:  Ask yourself… How many black friends do I have? How many gay men say… I don’t sleep with black men because I’m just not into them, they don’t turn me on. That, I’m afraid, is racist. We refuse to value black lives. Until we address our own racism these problems will not go away. Ask gay black people or gay people of color if they encounter racism in gay bars and clubs and they will tell you horrible stories.  If you care about the lives of black people before they are murdered make yourself heard.  Reach out.  #blacklivesmatter

#blacklivesmatter