A Great Weekend

CarolOne of the best weekends happened right between my June 18th birthday and the 4th of July, two already fantastic weekends. On Thursday night, my friend Kris Garcia invited me to The Magic Castle for a benefit magic show that was to be followed by an interview with Carol Channing. Kris secured us the best seat in the house, so after some excellent magicians, I was about five feet in front of the 94-year-old legend for her fantastic storytelling. Channing was dressed exactly like Colonel Sanders, and because she has terrible vision she addressed most of her stories to the only person she could actually see—me! It was as if Carol Channing stopped by my house to tell me her best anecdotes, and I couldn’t have been happier.

Throughout the night Channing mentioned celebrity after celebrity, almost all of which her interviewer/handler would afterwards comment, “They’re dead.” Channing looked very upset about this old news, and repeatedly responded with an, “Oh no!” for optimum comic affect. To make the evening better, I was sitting next to two of the gay dudes from The People’s Couch, and further down the line was another famous Carol—Carol Brady. Towards the end of the evening, Channing’s interviewer mentioned that Florence Henderson was in the audience. Without missing a beat, Henderson screamed out, “Carol, I’m not dead!” I might add that not only is she alive, but she looks fantastic for 81. Apparently reruns keep you young.

The next morning, Friday June 26 for posterity, I woke up to the news that the Supreme Court approved gay marriage. Albert and I cried in bed as President Obama spoke those beautiful words. It was something that we have marched in the streets for, something we deserve as humans, yet something that I never thought could happen. I don’t know if I’m more excited about the potential of marriage, or that I just don’t have to hear so much hate spewed in my direction. I always sensed that ignorant people didn’t like homosexuals, but to actually hear such negative things said openly to your face as if you aren’t in the room is hard. It’s very hard. I have been a minority since around the age of 21, and it is eye-opening in every sense. I hope it’s made me a better, more empathetic person, because I believe there is a reason for everything. That’ll do.

Later that day, the same Kris that got me into the Magic Castle sent me a picture of a book he got autographed for me. It’s from his friend Richard Sherman of The Sherman Brothers who wrote all of Disney’s classic music. So to be clear, I met Carol Channing and Carol Brady, woke up to get my civil liberties, and then had a musical genius write my name in his book for me. Later that night I celebrated at an equality rally in West Hollywood. I was practically shooting happiness rainbows out of my eyes. To quote Channing, “Raspberries!”

To top it off, my good friends Trisha, Kevin, and Mayson were visiting from Cincinnati, and my good friend Danny was in from Hawaii. We all celebrated life with dinners, drinks, and pool parties. We ended the weekend dancing at The Hollywood Bowl to The Basement Jaxx. I’d already been to The Bowl twice in June, for Lady Gaga with Tony Bennett and for Jungle with Underworld. Both were awesome concerts, but I will never forget dancing Sunday evening under a sea of rainbow-colored glow sticks, feeling like I was part of something bigger. I wasn’t feeling gay pride, which I’ve felt before. I was feeling American pride.

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For a Good Time, Watch This

JackI used to love television, because beyond entertainment, it was our social media. It was our shared experience, because everyone was watching almost the same thing at the same time. You could sort of guess who your like-minded people were, by which of the four shows on television at any given time they liked. If they watched Love Boat and Fantasy Island, perhaps we would have been friends. If they liked Hee-Haw, they were not in my social circle. Simple. Now, I watch much less TV, because it’s less of a social topic. Nobody cares to hear what tired show you binged on all weekend.

With that said, I’m going to tell you some recent shows that have risen to the top of my list of shows worth watching. Sense8 on Netflix is the best show I’ve seen since Lost. It is done by the Wachowskis and it’s beautifully shot, directed, and acted. It is a sexy, humanistic sci-fi story that had me intrigued through all 12 episodes. Oh, and the cast is gorgeous, and they all get naked.

I also just started watching Humans on AMC, which is also a sci-fi with a lovely cast. It’s not as cinematic as Sense8 and so far has zero nudity (boo) but it’s also an interesting premise of a show that reminds me of a Black Mirror episode. If you haven’t seen that show there are only a few episodes out of the BBC and it’s excellent. I also just started watching Mr Robot on the USA network, which reminds me of Fight Club, also directed by the fantastic David Fincher.

If comedy is your thing, my favorites new shows not to be missed include: Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City, You’re The Worst on FXX, and Grace and Frankie on Netflix. These shows are not for kids, and they might make you pee your pants. You’re welcome.

I also have a theater review for you, and it’s a musical you can bring your kids to. I saw the premiere of the national tour for Matilda and loved it. First, to be clear, I don’t have kids, and this show still cracked me up. I was not familiar with the source material, and I’m happy to say it’s as dark as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, another Roald Dahl book. The villain, Miss Trunchball, is played by a man, and his costume alone had me laughing whenever he took the stage. He/she refers to the kids as “maggots!” and gives Annie’s Miss Hannigan a run for the money for best evil guardian of children. Bring your own little maggots to this show when it comes to town, or go have fun like I did, knowing you don’t have to take a maggot home at the end of the night.