Sprang Forward

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The news has been all abuzz about Russia and Crimea and the Ukraine. I can’t believe the cold war is back, and so soon too, but at least we’re not talking about the Middle East or oil wars for a hot minute. Please, for the love of geography and a good joke, let there be an actual “Crimea River” somewhere on the map.

This is the second year in a row that we didn’t throw our annual Oscar party. We were flying home from Sydney during the show, so if you did not get an invitation, it was not because of anything you did. I think Ellen did a good job, even though her nerves were showing, and Idina Menzel got a hysterical story for her cabaret act. Speaking of movies, we saw Grand Budapest Hotel and thought it was good, not great. I’m a big Wes Anderson fan, and this was one of my least favorite films of his — gorgeous and quirky, but not particularly funny or moving. We also rented Rush, which is boring unless you understand the obsession with car racing, which I don’t. I do not care who can drive the fastest in circles to get nowhere.

Albert’s aunt Sherry and uncle Jerry came for a visit last weekend. We spent an afternoon at the Getty Villa, and it is not horrible to hang out in a beautiful Roman country house on the coast of Malibu. Admission is free and parking is $15 for as many people as you can squeeze in, so clown car it to the museum and go see some ancient art.

I went to a very fun brunch at my friend William’s in Mount Washington on Sunday, and a dinner party at Gabi’s house in Studio City on Tuesday night. Thanks for the invites and the delicious food, boys!

I was interrupted from writing this week by a cute guy coming door to door, asking for signatures regarding a project at The Palladium. He called me Sir several times, which I hate because it makes me feel very old. Then when I told him my email, he responded with, “Hotmail? That’s old school. My uncle has a Hotmail account.” Well isn’t that special. Please do not return to my home unless you are selling Girl Scout Cookies.

Today I was interrupted by a man coming to my door from the Hollywood Forever cemetery. He was taking a neighborhood survey, and I am a fan of the cemetery, so I was happy to talk. Then the conversation took a turn from survey to sales pitch and the man asked, “Has someone near to you recently departed, or would you like some more information about our services?” Oh my God, what are the odds that someone has recently died and I’m just sitting at home with the corpse waiting for somebody to come by and help? Did something happen that I’m unaware of, that should make me start looking around my house for dead bodies? It is one thing to get brochures from Orange County retirement homes in the mail at age 44 (which I do), and quite another to have the cemetery actually come knocking on my door! We did have a large earthquake on Monday morning, so I’m a bit worried that I didn’t make it.

This weeks celebrity sightings included Kathy Kinney from The Drew Carey Show, and Joel McHale, both at my gym, Josh Groban driving his car, and Beth Behrs from Two Broke Girls at Trader Joe’s. The picture (above) is from my walk to the gym this week when I passed a 50’s or 60’s film being shot.

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Down Under Part 2

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I forgot to mention a couple things about New Zealand. The first is that the food down under is all fresh and delicious. You can literally see the farms that the food comes from in some areas, and the eggs are so fresh they have intensely colored orange yolks. They’re either organic grain fed chickens or they’re radioactive. The second thing is that New Zealand has no poisonous snakes or bugs and they brag about the fact that Australia does have these things in plentitude. Kiwis clearly do not like poisonous snakes, spiders, Australia, or their people. I think it’s a Napoleon-esque-tiny-country-size-complex. New Zealand did have loud and constant cicada singing like a horror movie.

Something they do not have anywhere down under is regular coffee or iced tea. I live on unsweetened iced tea or coffee, because I want lots of caffeine and no calories. The one time I found iced tea it tasted like flowers, and the one time I ordered iced coffee, they put a scoop of ice cream in it. This will not do. They do have delicious hot lattes and cappuccinos, but I would need five of them to equal the amount of coffee I drink at home. Also, unrelated, they do not know what soft toilet paper is anywhere, and the urinals are all low-flow and stink.

From Auckland we flew to beautiful Melbourne, Australia. Shane’s friend Stuart gave us a walking tour around the river city, which is modern combined with old world architecture, and adorned with really cool street art. The downtown has hidden dark laneways lined with tiny cafes and secret bars, which feels like something out of Blade Runner. We stayed in Fitzroy, a charming hipster neighborhood with great restaurants and shops. Again the food was fresh and delicious, and I discovered the coconut lamington cake, which is fat ass.

Sunday we had drinks at a rooftop bar, a fantastic Italian dinner with new friends (hello Adrienne), all topped off by a drag show at a gay club. Let me just say that, true to Priscilla Queen of the Desert, the Aussies know how to do a number. The wigs and costumes were top notch, and the lip-syncers had not one, but two backup dancers doing full-out choreography. Bravo!

From Melbourne we flew to Sydney to end our trip with their Mardi Gras celebration. I immediately fell in love with Sydney, and could imagine myself living there if my LA paradise were ever to ever fall into the ocean after an earthquake, like my family always tells me will happen. It’s nice to know there are options.

We stayed in a charming airbnb apartment in Paddington just near Oxford Street. The old brownstones with wrought iron balconies felt a bit like New Orleans. One thing I did not anticipate were the giant fruit bats that come out at night. We were drinking wine on our balcony the first evening, when the sky was suddenly filled with what looked like the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz. They are huge like winged cats, riddled with viruses, and they leave large fruity poo-dumps everywhere. Disgusting…and clearly left out of the Sydney vacation brochures.

We visited the Opera House, which is absolutely stunning in design and scale. I had no idea that the thing is covered in white and off-white, flat and shiny tile designs. We also went to the beautiful Queen Victoria market, a late nineteenth-century building in the central business district, and toured Hyde Park.

Sydney also has Bondi Beach, one of the cleanest, most beautiful white sand beaches I have ever seen. As someone who enjoys people-watching, this is the place to go. For all the ladies and gay men reading, let me just say that Australian men are “quite good.” They average about 6 feet 4 inches tall, have tree trunk sized thighs, and ginger blonde hair, like a sexy Prince Harry. Let me also add that the regular construction workers wear short shorts, sleeveless shirts, and knee-high boots. I call this porn.

Albert and I went to the Wild Life Sydney Zoo, which features animals native to Australia. We got close up to koalas, which are adorable, and which I learned are not bears. We also saw kangaroos, wallabies, and a Tasmanian devil, which is more cuddly than scary. Albert fell in love with Meg the wombat, and I fell in love with a quokka that I got to pet and wanted to bring home.

We went to a house party before Mardi Gras, which is also their gay pride. The parade is a huge nighttime event that everybody in town is either marching in or attends. There is dancing, amazing costumes and floats, and synchronized light shows. We went to the big dance party that follows, and it is, without a doubt, the largest space I have ever danced in. They had two huge airplane hanger/studios and one smaller space, each with their own music and laser shows, filled with beautiful party people. It was off the hook and we danced all night.

What can I say? I love this town. They have sweet and savory pie shops on every corner. It’s a little too humid for my taste and they have a bat problem, but other than that… Did I mention that they have pie shops on every corner?

To see pictures from Melbourne, click the link below:

http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=1Rat2TNqxZ6w

To see pictures from Sydney, click the link below:

http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=1Rat2TNqxZ70

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Down Under Part 1

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It was a 15 hour flight from LAX to Sydney, then a three hour layover, followed by another three hour flight to our final destination, Auckland.  The flight attendant with the heavy accent announced that there were “two lemon trees on board the plane” which took me several minutes to figure out that there were actually two lavatories on board, which is much less interesting. We flew Virgin Australia, which was awesome and made US domestic flights seem cheap and tacky.  Everything from current movies to hot meals was all on the house, and two words that make every flight smoother — free wine. We were in New Zealand to visit the homeland of our friend Shane for his 40th birthday and everything was “quite nice” as they say. We were also celebrating our friend Ulisses’ 50th, because he is “quite old.”

The first night we had the perfect view of a fireworks show off of the SkyCity tower outside the window of our beautiful, modern airbnb apartment. It was a great start to an amazing once in a lifetime trip. First thing you should know about traveling down under is that it helps to know a local who is comfortable driving you around on the wrong side of the road. I was barely capable of crossing the street without being killed. Shane brought us to the very hip Ponsonby Road for delicious meals and shopping, to the duck ponds (which had eels), the War Memorial Museum, and the beautiful Winter Gardens. We also went hiking on Mount Eden’s volcanic crater and had cocktails at the beach. Also, a big thank you to Shane’s sister Michelle for having us over for a BBQ at her house, and to his mom for helping us with airport transportation at ridiculously early hours.

I love accents, so I was in heaven. An ad on the radio kept telling me to, “Wake up to a bitter day!” It always made me laugh because if I did that, I’d be like many gays I know who I shall not mention in this post. I also learned that a ‘sweater’ is called a ‘jumper,’ which sounds like baby clothes.

One of my favorite days was spent on Waiheke Island. We took a ferry and had lunch with some of Shane’s friends at the Oyster Inn and then went to the beach. This was followed by wine tasting at Cable Bay Vineyards where they served us delicious wines and tapas on a cliff overlooking the sea. It was unbelievably beautiful and drunkenly relaxing.

We also spent a day in Hobbiton, a working sheep farm where they filmed the Hobbit movies. Shane works for Warner Brothers and arranged free tours of the set locations for us. I’m not a fan of the dungeons and dragons, but any fan of movie making would appreciate the gorgeous world they created. The magical village in the shire is alive with beautiful flowers and butterflies, all quite real.

We were also in Auckland for their gay pride. I should mention that the gay bars in town are only open on Fridays and Saturdays, because apparently the New Zealand gays don’t drink on weekdays. This makes the city unlivable, but I digress. We met up with our flight attendant friends Juan and Marche (aka Cherry Sundae) for some pride fun. Friday night we went with a bunch of friends to an outdoor movie screening of Some Like it Hot projected on the silos of an old shipping yard. Saturday we went to a house party, a parade, and an outdoor dance party—not bad for a bunch of tourists!

To see pictures from New Zealand click the shutterfly link and watch the slideshow: http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=1Rat2TNqxZ58