Archives for posts with tag: Gore Vidal

My third meeting with Gore Vidal.

Two years ago I was introduced to him by Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich when Dennis Kucinich was running for President.

The second time I met Vidal it was with Stephen Fry when Stephen was here in LA writing his book.

On both occasions I had to share him with many others.

On this occasion Charlie Parsons and I had him all to ourselves.

Gore looks very frail.  He looks like a child.  Sitting in his wheelchair, his clothes hanging off his slight frame.  His eyes still blaze, his smile..when he smiles…lighting up his whole face.   He looks ever so slightly like Monty Burns.  He remains mesmerizing.

He is still king of the brilliant bon mot.

Charlie  arrived from London and checked into his hotel.

My good buddy is here in LA so we get to spend a great deal of time together.  He is such fun and very gently mocks how seriously I take myself.

We sat with Gore at his dining room table in his beautiful Spanish revival house (for sale) in the Hollywood Hills riveted to his take on contemporary America.

Sitting with his assistant and his realtor Delphine.  He offered us white wine but we opted (obviously) for water.

Gore recently sold his home in Italy so the house is crammed not only with thousands of books piled in every room but also an extraordinary collection of renaissance art.

A ginger cat with huge eyes lay on his bed.

We sat in the dining room chatting, covering a great deal of ground in a very short amount of time.

We discussed his dancing carp, we discussed the errant Charlie Sheen who he had once played a corrupt senator opposite in The Shadow Conspiracy.

He laughed at how he was always asked to play corrupt senators.

We discuss Sarah Palin .  He impersonates Palin brilliantly reducing us to fits of giggles.  He described her as ‘un-American’, he laments her lack of intelligence.

We discuss pre-war Germany and how the catastrophic economic situation here perfectly mirrors the situation there; creating a moment in time when a person like Palin can grab the attention of the people and make them feel as if she alone can provide simple answers for difficult problems.

Like any snobby intellectual he scorns the stupid whenever he can.   He laments how Obama has been stopped by the vicious right from achieving anything esteemable.

Yet, Obama’s people were also described as ‘stupid’.

Next week he will be with Gorbachev.  He holds Gorbachev in very high regard.

Not only is Gore Vidal a remarkable man, he is a remarkable gay man.  Inspiring me to understand the old, old gay man in my film and who he might be.

Such a wonderful history.  Belligerent, surly, glamorous.

During one of the TV debates at the 1968 Democrat Convention erudite William F. Buckley, Jr. called Gore a “goddamn queer” and threatened to beat him up.

When we left the house we sat quietly in the car making sense of this extraordinary moment.

Gore Vidal, embittered by this contemporary America.  He is saddened that corruption is rife.

Like anyone with a big brain he wants to understand how this could have happened to such a great country.

He mentioned my pet American peeve, that Americans boast continually that they are the very best at everything in all the world.

That they have the best police, firemen, soldiers, scientists, schools, healthcare, healthcare delivery… the list is as long as you want to make it.

Yet, elsewhere people live longer, are better educated, live safely etc.  Gore mocked American grandiosity.

He said, “I don’t know many Swedish boys who are desperate to become American, look at the people who do…”

At one point Vidal started talking about the end of slavery, how the blacks were deliberately uneducated by the whites and if they showed any desire for an education, for reading and writing, he said that they were “Taken out and shot.”

I remember a Chris Rock skit when he imagines what that must have felt like, to disguise ones intelligence for fear of ones life.

Now we are all slaves with no real need to be educated.

Do American white folk still resent an educated black man?  Is that what he was trying to say?  Was this why, when he was elected, people here kept on telling me that Obama would be assassinated?

I drove home listening to NPR but I couldn’t listen to anything other than the conversation we had just had with this frail old man.

When he dies something of old America, good America will die with him.

Chris Rock

Gore Vidal with Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich

The past few days have been lovely.

Breakups are never usually times to relish but this breakup has been very good to me.

This is exactly the time in my life to take action and find a new perspective.

I took action by finding my peers in gay AA who might, in turn, shed some light on my relationship with the other.

In the scheme of things I was just an inconsequential blip in his life and I would be kidding myself if I thought differently.

I certainly could not compare with his other enduring relationships.    Anyhow, we seem to be communicating like friends and I am largely over what he may or may not be doing-though sitting here alone writing causes me a certain doleful curiosity.

Let me tell you about the past few days.

On Saturday I went to the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills to see the Andreas Gursky show with my friend Dom.  We ate lunch at the Montage-he had the steak tartar and I, the charcouterie.

The Gursky show was good but uninspiring.  Huge photographs framed in monstrous oak frames.    Big forgettable pictures…that’s all.

Huge photographs of the insides of neutrino splitting machines buried miles under Japan and filled with super purified water.  Satellite images of the great oceans.  It was all spectacle and no substance.

After our gallery visit I bought a pair of very baggy white trousers in some outlet store.  Gucci $48.

We popped into the new Missoni on Rodeo designed by my once boyfriend Patrick Kinmonth.  The outside is PERFECT, like a huge basket, woven metal softening the corner of Rodeo and Little Santa Monica.

The inside, however, is a bit of a mess.

I suppose the concept is the shopper wanders down a grand boulevard with variously sized vitrine to grab ones attention.   It was too theatrical.

The men’s area, the woman’s area, the home store etc.  It doesn’t work, it’s a mess. The interior finishes are very beautiful but the layout left too much to be desired.

Again, the outside is exquisite.

I could tell you very wonderful stories about Patrick but I will save them for another day.

The last time I saw Patrick Kinmonth he was reclining on a velvet sofa at the Chateau Marmont with Mario Testino.

He drawled that I could have been so much more than I was.  He is, after all,  a very grand queen; something I long abandoned aspiring to be but glad that I had the chance to meet.

For a few glorious months at the age of 21 he totally indulged me.

Sadly, I didn’t really fall for him.  I fell in love with his impeccable style.

Actually, he may very well be the Diana Vreeland of our age.  That plaudit might have been reserved for Hamish Bowles but Hamish doesn’t dress well enough or take enough care with his appearance.

Saturday night we celebrated Josh’s continuing testicular cancer treatment.  Every one of his friend brought ball-shaped hors d’œuvre to commiserate his recent loss and the chemo that began today.

He is an incredibly brave 29-year-old and described his cancer as an ‘inconvenience’.   I have huge respect for that young man.

GLADD awards and party on Saturday night that I was not invited to.  Odd really as I was the only out gay man in recovery ever on a Dr Drew show.  I am definitely not pretty enough for GLADD.

I suppose that this was the Velvet Mafia’s way of expressing their disapproval.   The sex addict message is not one the gays are eager to hear.

Even though conversion parties, bug chasing and crystal meth are discussed at length amongst the young gay men I know.  Perhaps this is only a myth?  A meth myth?  It is much easier for the gay community to concentrate on attacks from the outside than focus on the damage we do to ourselves.

Dane

On Sunday I met Gore Vidal again (the last time was with Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich during Dennis’s run for President) he described the sad state of the USA, describing it as rotten and then said (rather surprisingly) that he would like his bones buried in France and not, as he has always said, beside his lover in Washington.

I wonder if he was just being dramatic.  It was lovely to see him…  even though he is beyond frail.

Others at the party included the divine Ben Barns who played the other Dorian Gray, he told me how disappointed by the film he was.

Quite right!  Not nearly as interesting as our deeply flawed Dorian.    Eric Mc Cormack, Rufus Sewell and Michael Sheen all friends from different places and all at Stephen’s party.  I had a wonderful time.

So nice to be included by someone who the British might describe as a National Treasure.

Stephen is, of course, the most gracious of all hosts.  The food was excellent, the Pellegrino..well there’s not much more I can’t tell you about Pellegrino.

I took my friend Dane who looked a bit like Tarzan.  He was wearing a tiny black vest… nipples like peanuts.

Met a British director called Toby and after Stephen’s we decided to hit WeHo where I met a whole host of adoring sex rehab fans but regardless of their drunken attempts to get into my boxer briefs-I slept alone.

It is simply too soon to start meeting folk again-especially after the feast of affection, love and intimacy I have gorged myself on this past few months.

If I miss anything about dear old HIM I miss that I will never kiss him again, that he will never nestle in my arms and sleep as lovers do.  Hey ho, that’s going to be a hard one to replicate any time soon.