Counting down The End of Will Clark
Ok so as some of you might know, I've pushed back my retirement a week to Thursday, August 11 as one of my best pals, Shane Tate (who produces the annual Fire Island Bear Weekend in Cherry Grove- book your room now for 2017!), offered to throw me a 'retirement party' at his new weekly event BEERS AND BEARS at The Bear Den (Thursday nights from 6pm to Midnight). I'll be there that night from 7pm to 10pm (or maybe later, who knows, we'll see how long I last once the $3 Coors start flowing)
Anyone who's been with me for drinks knows that I can pack it away and God knows this may be the last time I get free drinks from friends, colleagues, fans, whatevers. :) By the way, there's no cover so it's a bargain. :) Wait, oh my God, I'm on the mark down table.. just like my 48 videos (on VHS, not quite reel to reel or stereoptican. I kid because I love)
I know what you're thinking - "you have had more going away parties than Cher".... I know that's what you're thinking because I had breakfast with my best friend today and that was almost word for word what he said too. He wasn't wild when I muttered back "bitch" to him with the famous patent pending Will Clark side eye (oh you know the look), but then, he's my best friend so if he can't say that to me and I can't say that to him, who can?
But, the thing is, he's kind of right. I thought I over-celebrated my birthday (yes, it's true, I celebrated 50 for 18 months) but seriously, this goodbye thing has been going on for like three years now. I'm not quite in Cher's league (I went to a "final tour" in LA in January 2000, by the way) but I guess if you're going to be compared to someone, I could do much worse than Cher. :)
Let's see, there was the 10th and Final Bad Boys on the Hudson on July 14th, 2013, Final Bingo on February 26, 2014, the final "Victory Lap" bingo on August 5th, 2015, and then my final emcee gig at Witti's birthday party on July 16th, 2016. That's lots of goodbyes. But oh well, each event and each piece of my life deserved a proper send off for closure's sake. I was just going to post some blogs and fade away until Shane stepped up for the Beers and Bears event. So, hell, what's one more? :)
In all seriousness, I appreciate that people still give a rat's ass enough to come out to these things. As I've said many times, I wouldn't have been doing all of this for the past 21 years if it weren't for the awesome people I've met along the way. No joke.
So, I will look forward to seeing you at 369 West 46th Street in NYC on Thursday, August 11th. There's no show, no guests, no fundraising, no this or that. Just hangin out, drinkin, and schmoozin because after all we've been through, it'll come down to me and you ... and our Coors. :)
Posted at 12:22 PM in 2016 Fire Island Bear Weekend, A Little Night Life, It Gets Better, Music I Dig, New York City, The End of Will Clark, THE WILL CLARK SHOW/BINGO, Will Clark's JOURNAL | Permalink | Comments (0)
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I look back at 2015 and think of it the way one thinks of a particularly bad bout of food poisoning - there's a point when the vomiting stops and although you feel like a truck ran over you and you're sweaty, crying, and miserable, even if you 'just' have the dry heaves, at least you know it's finally finally finally over.
That was kind of my year last year.
2015 was the year I was in year 3 of the insane day job. We'd gone through a merger in 2014 and leadership hadn't really thought it out all that well so there were lots of layoffs due to an enormous company budget shortfall. Morale was bad and The Hammer was being incredibly hard on me all the time despite the fact that I was doing my job well. I was miserable. And worse, at one point I thought I was having a heart attack. And, even when that proved to be 'just' a really bad anxiety attack, I had back pains, nausea, and was just generally not well for most of the year. Thankfully, in the weeks after I left the job, all that went away. Not too surprising, right?
2015 was also the year that I really, truly said goodbye to Bingo - as the year started, I started to get the vibe that I was not long for this company especially after a colleague of mine was let go with zero notice after a particularly nasty corporate chess game left her as the fall guy for her managers drunken behavior in hotels around the country as well as some other not so nice things. So, I thought that despite the claim that we had closed down Bingo in February 2014, I would see if there was still an audience for it or if I was just sort of trying to go back to my high school locker looking for my lost youth. (I mean, my 'lost youth' was me at 51 looking at 50 lol but the analogy is apt I think). The three nights we did were quite fun and there was still interest, so I immediately booked five nights for the summer. Then I got greedy and booked ten nights.
Things didn't really go very well - lots of stars cancelled at the last minute, prizes got lost in delivery, and even one of my all time favorite beneficiaries flaked out on the final night. And, the worst part was that although the spring had been relatively quiet at work, things suddenly started heating up right when Bingo was beginning and the call to the universe of "oh fuck!" could be heard coming from my mouth.
Look, it wasn't all a disaster - we had some amazing nights and of course some great guests - and, along the way, we added several folks to the Bingo family - Bailey and Kelly, friends of Kylie Edmonds, and Mr. Fire Island Bear Chris Pagano. Wit, style, and great senses of humor had AB and I chanting, 'one of us!'. :) I referred to it as the "Victory Lap" and savored the last night with my best friends and most (but definitely not all) of the Bingo family. In fact, you know if the picture above was the sum total of what I'd "gotten" out of Bingo over the 10 years, I'd be OK with that. I'd be even more OK if Erica, Witti, Yolanda, Matt Knife, Chris and Paul, and a few others were in the photo too. :) But yeah, it became a little family and the summer shows were my/our opportunity to enjoy that family a few more times. Looking back, I'm glad that I did that. :)
Speaking of Mr. Fire Island Bear, I was thrilled to be the emcee for the first annual contest - and it went swimmingly. Plus, I made out with a hot guy on the dance floor - who then said that we couldn't go back to his place because his husband was sleeping. I made that face. You know the one. The one that says "Queen, I can't believe you didn't mention that you are married" I don't really 'do' married guys because I'm looking for something beyond furtive groping in the dark. So, as the party ended, he went to the bathroom and I snuck away into the night. It couldn't have ended any differently.
And you know what? Bingo could not have ended any differently either. I gave it another shot and realized that the event was 'done' and so was I. Certainly there was a moment during the winter when I was starting the job search when I thought of reviving it (again!) but it was really only a moment. As Sawyer on LOST says, "What's Done is DONE". You know, like Letterman. Even he figured out when it was time to go. (And as a lifelong Letterman fan, oh boy was that an emotional goodbye!)
And you know, the job couldn't have ended any differently either. I was lucky to have been there as long as I was what with all the changes and corporate espionage going on. For the record, all that corporate politics crap bores the shit out of me. Let me do my job and get out of the way. But, I will probably have to go back to doing it because that's what we do to survive, right? If only there was another way.
Well, there is/was. I avoided the corporate crap by going into gay porn. LOL And we see how THAT turned out!.....
But more on that in another chapter of LAST TRAIN FROM CLARKSVILLE.
July 20, 2016
Don't know about you, but I'm so ready for 2016 to be finished. Sorry, it's just true. Kimberly Harrington wrote an excellent article for medium.com a few days ago and it's now one of my favorites. Because it hits the nail on the head - this has been a shithole year.
You see, early in January, I met a pretty fucking awesome guy and we've been seeing each other for months. Will it last? Will it be forever? I don't have the answer for you (or me, or him) but for me, it's been a bright spot in otherwise dismal time. And, I also keep thinking - huh, if I was working at the crazy, stressful job that I had the past three years, I might not have been open to meeting him and certainly would not have had the time or energy to devote to him or to our relationship the way I have these past 6 months. We've been able to go out and do things that I haven't done in years - like spend all night at a dance club, for example. Not something I can (or want to) do all the time, but every few weeks/months has been a really nice change from the semi hermetic life I'd been living more recentlyish.
It's a kind of odd way of looking at a job less time, I suppose, but, in the end, I kind think of it as a nice gift from the universe. And by the way, I've often spoken about bfs in the past and it's been a bit of a mixed bag results-wise with how it makes me and them feel. So, I hesitated even writing this much but thought that my friends and colleagues would like to know that there's been some positive motion in my life in this area (you know, considering I'm constantly flirting from the stage LOL) :)
And, while I'm not sure how or when or if a creative (non Will Clark) project I've been noodling around on will ever come to fruition, suffice to say that I've re-discovered a part of my creative life that I long ago abandoned and frankly, never much thought that I'd be able to pick up again. Creative types will understand. Creative types will also understand the roller coaster ride of self doubt that often kidnaps rational thought and prevents that creativity from flowing. My level of talent doesn't hold me back, my self doubt does.
Anyway, so despite this truly deranged Election, Brexit, the multiple celebrity deaths, an incalculable volume of shootings, bombings and other horrors, I am trying to also see what good things have happened. It's not a long list, but it's definitely something, and today, and probably tomorrow and the next day, it'll have to be the silver lining that I hold on to.
July 20, 2016
Good evening, peeps - hope you're staying cool in this heat. The other day someone posted that Satan was planning to be the keynote speaker at the GOP convention in Cleveland and my response was "no, he's way too busy frying us New Yorkers to waste his time in Ohio" :) The article is here, by the way, and what's really scary is that the "excerpts from Satan's speech" are actually things that Mr. Trump has said. If that doesn't frighten you, I don't know what will.
On to much happier topics - so this past Saturday night, July 16th, I ended my 19 year long emcee career at Rockbar co-emceeing Witti Repartee's annual 39th birthday party. Witti produced an amazing show featuring an incredible line up of fabulous performers. Between the door, the silent auction, the raffle, the progressive auction (for a truly beautiful piece of jewelry) and tips for the performers, the event raised a hair under $4500 for New York Lesbian and Gay Center's HIV/AIDS services. The money went to the fund of Team Eagle who will be riding in Cycle for the Cause later this summer. You know, that's the 9 billion mile bike ride from Boston to New York. :)
On a personal level, it was, of course, bittersweet - it was the right time to retire and I'd actually kind of asked Witti not to make a big deal about it because I was concerned that there'd be few WC fans in the audience and it would just look maudlin and weird. Besides, I got plenty of strokes at the Feb 26 2014 Final Bingo night, so I'm all set. (You can go to You Tube and type in to the Search box "Will Clark 50th" and see the video from the night .. there are 8 filmed by South Africa AIDS Ride's Bryan).
Naturally, my boyfriend was there (and he offered to take pictures! you see why I love him, right?) as was Shane Tate, the producer of the annual Fire Island Bear weekend and the upcoming weekly dance party at the Ritz (Thursday nights from 6 to 10pm) plus lots of friends from around the community. As a plus, the musical wonder that is Kylie Edmond (Facebook/ Rock and Rawhide!) performed and her pal Bailey (who joined us at Bingo all last summer and, with Chris Pagano and singer Kelly Brown became the final inductees to the Will Clark Show Porno Bingo family) threw some beach balls around (LOL) and singer Tym Moss joined us after hosting Staten Island Pride.
But it was especially awesome to have in the house, my long time friend Barbara. Those of you who came to Bad Boys on the Hudson know Barbara as the porn star wrangler. I first met Barbara as I was moving back to New York in 2003 and she's been in and out of my events ever since. So, it was fitting that she be there for this last chapter. And, it was she, who was kind enough, at the end of the show, to give me an Earth Mother hug, which just sort of allowed a lot of my pent up emotion to be let loose. Thankfully everyone was too busy hootin and hollering how great the show went to really notice.
Then the boyfriend and I danced to 80s pop and got reprimanded for dancing on the stage. That's what happens. You retire and get thrown off stage. :)
I started emceeing at a beer bust to benefit Aid for AIDS at the Gauntlet in LA Father's Day 1997 and ended at Rockbar in NYC on July 16, 2016 to benefit the Gay/Lesbian Center's AIDS programs. I'd say that there were about a thousand shows in between - 144 Cocktails with the Stars, 470 Porno Bingos, 26 Bad Boys events, 3 Folsom Easts, 2 LA leather Street Fairs, 4 Mr/Ms NJ Leather contests, about 40 People Will Talk (View Bar, NYC), about 40 Cocktails with the Stars in Long Beach, CA, and about 40 Wet Jockey Shorts at the Gauntlet, plus about 50 Porn Idol shows in NYC and well, dozens (plus!) of various other events around the country.
For those of you who joined me for any of these, thank you...... without friends, I couldn't have done any of this. And I wouldn't have wanted to.
So, for the next couple weeks, I'm going to be doing a little looking back in a series of blogs I call "Last Train from Clarksville". Hope that you will join me for this final ride.
July 18, 2016
Good evening, peeps - what a strange few weeks it has been, hasn't it? I thought it was bad enough with this insane Election - I swear, if Trump suddenly took off his human mask to reveal an alien lizard beneath, I wouldn't be shocked, I'd be relieved and I'd say "well, THAT makes sense!" I'm sure for some quarters in the country, if Hillary and/or Bernie did the same thing, they'd say the same thing - but anyway, with Orlando and now the terrible tragedies out of Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas..... it makes me kind of want to climb into a hole and never come out. And I don't mean the hole of some hot guy. I mean, yes, of course, that would be awesome... but that's not really what I'm referring to. :)
Anyway, I've been OK although stressed out about my continued state of unemployment. It's been making me sort of crazy the past few weeks and so I haven't really been entirely myself. But I'm getting through. After posting a frustrated post on Facebook lamenting the lack of support from my fellow gay men in this search, two fellas have stepped up to offer some help. Thanks, guys, I hope it works cuz this Daddy has to pay rent and eat!
As you may remember, I'm retiring Will Clark on August 4th which will be the 21st anniversary of my first porn shoot (Hot House's Dr. Goodglove). I had hoped to write more blog posts this summer but given the tragedies we've been enduring, I felt it kind of inappropriate (and not "Michael Brandon Inappropriate Behavior Party" inappropriate, either). But, I'm going to plow through in the coming weeks so please forgive me if I write about stupid porn shit even if/when it feels as though the world is ending.
And, you know, sometimes is has felt as though the world is ending..... the Trump slogan is "Make America Great Again", I'd settle for "Make America Kind Again" or "Make America Livable Again". Great? I'd like to aim higher, please.
More to say, of course, but I want to end on a very positive note - a FB friend/blogger posted a really awesome post tonight entitled: "Jack Chicken for Will Clark" wherein he gives a recipe for what looks like a DELICIOUS chicken dinner (my favorite!) doused in Jack Daniels (also my favorite!). Then, he goes on to write a kind of love letter to me highlighting some of my accomplishments. Now, because I'm a kind of control queen (if you don't know this, you have clearly not been paying attention LOL), I wrote him privately correcting him on some of the facts in the bio. Dan, hope you don't mind!! :)
But I should also say that I'm proud of Dan - the other day he stood up for what was right for him and other tenants in his building when the landlord was clearly trying to hurt everyone. That's what I like to hear. People standing up for themselves and taking care of others by standing up for what is right. Thank you. And I'm sure your neighbors thank you as well.
Finally- this Saturday night at Rockbar here in NYC, I'll be co-emceeing with drag queen Witti Repartee in what will be Will Clark's final event. I've already been kind of choked up about it but am hoping that I'll have some pals around who will prevent me from getting too weepy. I know.. I know.. I could just keep doing these things but I feel that I can't get to the new stuff (whatever that turns out to be), if I keep holding on to the old stuff. And like Willy Wonka, I could keep going but I really don't want to. It's all kind of a mess having to do with not living in the past and moving on and all that grown up stuff.
Anyway, more on this as the week progresses. :)
Have a great evening and see you back here again soon!
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Good evening, peeps - I don't know about you, but Gay Pride is always like running a marathon - lots of events get thrown into the blender and there's never enough money or time to go to all of them. If you're on the verge of becoming a curmudgeon like I am (yay, I made it to old age!), you do a lot of things like just wanting to sit on the couch and watch TV and wait for the week to pass so that you can get back to work. I mean, if you're trying to do anything for basically the month of June that involves any gay people at all, you're more or less screwed until about July 1 and then you run the risk of getting lost in the vacuum of the holiday weekend. Grumble. You see? I am curmudgeony!
But this year is different. It has to be. Circumstances are different. Our lives are different.
You see, just when we thought our lives were normalizing (getting Marriage Equality, lots of trans visibility), Orlando happened. It was really our 9/11. Not to take anything away from 9/11 of course.. but that was a wake up call to Americans that no, not everyone in the world loved us. And so, with us, it was a wake up call, that no, not everyone thinks that 'the gays' are AOK.
We had inklings. Being out has never been easy and certainly hate crimes (esp against transgendered people) have been on the rise in the last year, so it's not a super duper surprise or anything, but I think that we all had it in our heads that some idiot Presidential candidates notwithstanding, we had made it through the worst.
Nope. Nope. Nope. June 12th proved us wrong.
So here we are, here in New York it's Gay Pride this Sunday and we need to be visible - and I mean REALLY visible.
So, you can stay at home and watch TV and probably be safe. Or you can put on your rainbow clothes and funny gay t shirts and get out of your literal comfort zone and get involved. That can look like joining the Guns for Gays group or marching with your favorite club, bar, or group, or simply standing on the sidelines watching and being a part of history - in that this is the year that we got FUCKING ANGRY again. I, personally, would be thrilled if the Gay Pride Parade had continued to devolve into endless corporate floats. That would have been really nice. That would mean that we were finally FINALLY to a point where we were AOK.
But we are not at a point where we are AOK. We are pretty far from AOK, I'd say.
So now it's time to shake off the shit that you've let grow over the course of the last twenty years - you know - the shit where you decided that because of protease inhibitors or PReP you didn't need to give a shit about the AIDS anymore and spent Pride day smoking crystal meth with your Manhunt/Grindr/Scruff buddies. That was ok, I'm not judging, but now it's time to put that away because we are at fucking war. Again. (Maybe "still")
We need you at the March. We need you to give a damn. We need YOU and all of your friends.
In 2000 there was a March on Washington. A friend of mine from LA who worked at a university and was a pretty smart cookie called me up and we talked about going to DC. He was all excited about the DJs and the circuit parties. I was too and said, 'oh and what group are you marching with?" He was dumbfounded. He didn't know that there was an actual protest connected to the circuit party. And you know what? He didn't CARE.
So, we need you to care now. We need for you to get involved. As I said in a previous blog post - we can't and won't carry you anymore. We have to get all of us united to get the guns off of our streets and we need to shut down the NRA. They messed with the wrong queens and that will be their fatal mistake.
Yeah, I know. You're a pussy and you don't think that you have to do shit. You're wrong. Well, you're right in that if you think that way, then well, sorry to say, but yeah, then you are a pussy... but you're wrong that you don't have to do anything. Get up, get out, and do something. Anything. NOW. The Pride Parade in New York is on Sunday. I recommend you start there.
And if you can't think of a way to get involved, jesus christ on a cracker, write to me and I'll give you suggestions. Because it's literally a matter of life and death.
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After everything that's gone on over the past ten days, I don't know about you, but I need a little diversion - and thankfully, the FB group I belong to that discusses where comic books meet The Gays, posted the other day that there's now a Captain America XXX parody. It's a straight thing but if you have a fetish for the blue Captain America mask thing, then this might be for you (please disregard the pussy... although I know a few gay men - like myself - that don't mind watching straight porn).
In these days when copyright is king and porn makes money, a porno using any kind of registered trademark has to be considered a 'parody' in order to prevent themselves from being sued up the ass - which might make its own nice little porn for those who consider legal briefs sexy. Me, I prefer men with no underwear at all but boxers are preferable to briefs. But I digress.
Naturally, if someone made a gay version, it should be COLT so that they can take advantage of the recent controversy surrounding Captain America being revealed as a Hydra agent - that way they can call the video "Hail Hydro" after their "shower shot" product (seen here). There would be a requisite Cap/Bucky flip flop scene (for a "Bucky Fuck" - patent pending) which would then add Falcon for an over the top three way flip flop scene. There's a lot of directions it could go but an appearance from Chi Chi as Black Widow would be fun and any number of bodybuilders as The Hulk, except, of course the burrito guy. You might want to leave him out of it. Just sayin.
I don't really have any where else to go with this except now I'm thinking of myself using the shield to prop up my ass when Cap gives it to me. I'm also thinking about burritos. Damn. Now I'm hungry.
Good evening, peeps - trust that you had a good weekend. I needed a little blog and Facebook break -and, because I've been bombarded by Sadness lately (Orlando, the death of DJ Chris Padilla, etc) Sunday, Father's Day, I said "fuck it" and went to Folsom East for a little fun in the sun with hundreds of my closest friends. It was a good day and frankly odd not to be on stage, but totes whatevs - I had three great years on stage and frankly, most street fairs don't even give their emcees that many years in a row. So I count my blessings. Nice to talk to some pals and get some sun. My mood is slightly better going into Pride Week but am still burdened by all the shit we've been through collectively with the election and, of course, Orlando. I am sure that you are still sad/angry/etc.
Anyway, on Friday night I attended the first meeting of the "Gays Against Guns" group created in the wake of the Orlando Shooting. The room at the Gay/Lesbian Center on W. 13th was jammed with a variety of men and women from a wide spectrum of the LGBT community to the point where it was literally standing room only. The main topic of conversation was focused on action - how to pull together a contingent for Sunday's Pride parade here in New York. No small feat as it's just a week away. As the group is still forming and may, in some way, intersect with other groups also committed to gun control, the mission statement may change abit over the next few days/weeks, but here it is as it stands now:
Gays against guns' (AKA GAG) mission is to not allow the murder of our 49 siblings to be in vain. Although founded by gays, this group is open to anyone who's concerned about gun violence. Our goal is to call for an IMMEDIATE ban on all high capacity magazines. There is no reason for these weapons to be in the hands of civilians. Our second goal is to call for stricter background checks; close the loophole that allows gun shows to sell guns without background checks, ban sales of all guns off of the Internet, and block anyone on the FBI watchlist from purchasing and possessing guns. NRA : we see the blood on your hands. We are coming for you. We will make these changes. And we will make you GAG on it!
I, for one, appreciate the sense of humor - and one might say a bit of a return of the gay sensibility that has been lost in recent years. I mean, "Bye Felicia" is cute but it's not exactly a Paul Lynde bon mot,is it?
In any event, kudos to the organizers of Gays Against Guns for keeping the meeting moving and focusing on the task at hand - organizing quickly enough to be in the Parade. Also thanks to NYC City Councilman Cory Johnson for giving the group his spot in the Parade. And if plans pan out, it will be a pretty great display.
People are PISSED and these men and women are getting shit done in record time. Basically, if the NRA is smart (which they, of course, are not) they'd find some sort of middle ground - sacrifice the assault rifles to keep their business going. But since they are not, they will be bombarded by the gays and we will win. How do I know this? Because let's take a minute to look at our track record - Stonewall, AIDS, Marriage Equality, Transgender rights. Sure, we are not 100% there but geezus on a cracker, look how far we've come in less than 50 years. Watch out NRA, we are gunning for YOU. And we will make you GAG on it.
If you want to join, GAG can certainly use the help. If you can offer funds in order to cover costs, if you have skills that might be appreciated there, then make sure you go to their Facebook page and join and get yourself in as soon as possible.
However, I know that marching on the streets isn't everyone's thing - and that's OK. After some attempts at joining these types of groups in the past, I realized that I was better suited to planning cute little fundraising events that support these types of groups. That's my style of activism, and frankly, in this past week, I've missed having a forum to process this with friends while raising funds for worthy organizations. I guess that I always will feel this way in the wake of events that directly affect me and honestly, I wish that there was something that I could do at this time. But maybe, it'll 'just' have to be content getting news out to you via this blog and via Facebook. I can almost hear you say "yeah, right, how long with THAT last?" and the truth is - I honestly don't think that it will. LOL :)
Anyway, click here to join the Facebook group and if for some reason the link doesn't work, simply go to the Search box on FB and type in "Gays Against Guns". Do it now!
That's all from me tonight, best to you all and more tomorrow.
This post is part of a series of blogs celebrating The End of Will Clark
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This was a lost set that is so powerful and quite amazing
but ho they say Timing is Everything
Remember Love is the message and MUSIC is the Answer
enjoy love, peace and music
Chris Rising Son Padilla
A week or so ago I wrote an open letter on this blog to former P*rno Bingo DJ, Chris Padilla who was at the time, at a hospice in Fort Lauderdale in the wake of having dealt with cancer on and off for many years. I don't know that he ever read it, I don't know that I needed him to, but I believe that the sentiment reached him. Just as I believe that the thoughts, and prayers that his friends, fans, and colleagues sent to him reached him (somehow) and gave him at least a bit of an understanding how much we loved him.
I posted the news on my Facebook page, and AB, our awesome photographer from Bingo, posted "Rest in Rhythm", which I found to be the best and most loving thing that we could say to him as he lived to make music and the thrill of the dance floor.
I won't go over the words and thoughts I had, you can click the link above and re-read it for yourself.... but it occurs to me that we so very rarely say all the nice things to our loved ones that we say about them when they've died. And that's a shame.
And yet, it doesn't of course, have to be this way. While you may not feel the need to write a blog post to your loved ones, dropping nice notes every so often to them might be something to start doing. Facebook makes this incredibly easy. And this is why, when friends complain about the site, I point out that it's really only as good as what you put into it. I don't know that I'd go so far as to say it's comparable to "the love you take is equal to the love you make", but it's close enough and that's good enough for me.
We have lost a few people from our Bingo family over the years - our first graphic designer, Tom (2007), our special volunteer - Princess aka Andrew (around 2010 or so?), and, of course, Chris (2016). There was also a 'friend of Bingo', Joe (or, Big Joe as he was referred to) who passed away earlier this year after complications from surgery.
For me, the last year has been filled with innumerable losses - porn stars Cole Tucker and Blue Blake, agent David Forest, director Gino Colbert, Black Party promoter Mike Peyton, and non industry friends, Chris who worked for years at Roscoe's in Boys Town in Chicago, Mark from Texas who was a FB friend and brother to my best friend in the 80s, Paul, a high school friend, and of course my friend Joe who passed away this spring after a very long illness.
When I go (well, when the guy I time share a life with goes, I guess is more accurate), i don't want sadness, I want everyone to find JOY in the life that I lived. No tears, no sadness, only dancing and stories of the funny and dumb things that I did. The dumb things alone should take up a lot of time. :)
So, with Chris, I've been asked to help plan a memorial service here in New York. Because of Pride, we won't even get to the starting place of it until next week, but I hope that we can focus on the JOY in Chris' life. Certainly, there will be dancing for what would a DJ's memorial service be without dancing?
And until then, dance for your loved ones who have left this place and dance for yourself - life is too short to stay in sadness for too long.
May Chris Padilla always, Rest in Rhythm.
Tomorrow night, June 17 is a sort of national call for all gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered to get off of social media and go out and, well, be social. So I hope you're planning on doing that. It's called the "Refuse to Hide Campaign" and you can click here to see the Facebook invite for it. Sometimes these links to FB invites don't work, but you can always type "Refuse to Hide" in the events search box and find it.
So this weekend and/or for Pride, when you're out and about - please be careful and make sure that you do these three things at every venue that you go to:
1. Make sure you know where the exits are. Don't let it ruin your night, but just simply notice. If it seems as though there's only one way out (i.e. the way back in), make sure you know what other rooms are there (i.e. the office or maybe even, God forbid the basement where the frig is sometimes located).
2. If the bar has a doorman or bouncer, rather than hassle them because there's a cover or they're patting you down for drugs (and, now, guns), thank them. There's is a thankless job and they are always seen as the party poopers. But thank them for keeping you safe. They will be glad that you did. Trust me on this one. You want that doorman or bouncer as your friend, not your adversary. And if post Orlando they are a little too ... handsy, just giggle and tell them that you're not that kind of girl. They'll maybe appreciate a little levity all the way around.
3. And have fun. What the terrorists (and these people are terrorists plain and simple) want is to scare the shit out of us so that we cower before them like we did when we were kids and they were calling us 'faggots'. Don't give them the satisfaction. Laugh. Kiss your friends on the cheeks. Hold hands with your boyfriend. Dance. I'd rather not die right now thankyouverymuch, but I'm also not going to spend the rest of my life sitting in front of the TV or in front of my computer.
I know it's corny to say, but I believe that it's true - #LoveWins - Sure, maybe not this week, but it does win. I don't see the use in thinking otherwise. I really don't. Because, really, what does that get you? Then you're just a miserable fucking wretch spinning around in your own angry filth. And when you complain that you're alone, we will just go 'well, there's a reason for that....". I'm not saying that you have to live your life all butterflies and buttercups, but maybe rather than seeing everything in the darkness, it's possible to find a half way point.
Anyway, I hope to see you out and about this weekend, having fun, living life, and refusing to hide!