Hey there, peeps - on the eve of my 50th birthday, I wanted to take a few minutes to jot down a few thoughts about getting to this landmark age - and, of course about Final Bingo held at Uncle Charlies a couple weeks back.
First though, click here for a pretty awesome story that NEXT Mag did on Final Bingo.. and just today I found out that TIME OUT NEW YORK did a story - but I didn't see it and the friend that told me about it had already thrown away her copy. I can't find it on the TONY website so if you're a New Yorker and have a copy, please let me know via my FB page!
So, those who know me, know that I'm uhhhh what others might consider a kind of control freak. I have an idea of what I want the events with my name on them to be and I'm not really too shy about speaking up. I guess if that's being a control freak, then I am one. LOL And for Final Bingo, I was trying to make sure that the final night had as much great stuff happening as is possible. I went a little overboard and asked a lot of friends to speak and well, Final Bingo went until the wee hours of the morning. But hey, who needs sleep?
There were some surprises along the way, but nothing could have prepared me for receiving a citation from the office of New York City council member Daniel Dromm for the work that I've done over the years in the LGBT community. I was moved beyond words and, partly because of that, partly due to the very generous speeches throughout the evening, and partly due to complete exhaustion (emotional, spiritual, physical) I spent much of the evening on the verge of tears and tongue tied. Not such a bad reason all in all to be a little mush mouthed. :) (see pic, right, with Tym Moss, Witti Repartee and Yolanda. Thanks to my bestie Matt for the magic wand!)
Growing up in Wisconsin, I dreamt of coming to the Big City and escaping a life that was sometimes wonderful (my parents were two of my best friends and I was in numerous plays both in school and in the community) but more often awful (years and years of beatings and humiliations by my older brother and being bullied at school for being different - artistic and nerdy).
Like many of you reading this, I was teased unmercilessly and there were times when I was not sure how I was going to make it. But I would not let the bullies win. And I was determined to find my way no matter how difficult it would be. And it sometimes has been really fucking hard.
But thank God for my parents, they supported my artistic endeavors and, when it came time, let me pursue them without too much fuss. I know that it wasn't easy for my mother to let me go especially after my father died. But she did and it was probably the most amazing thing that she ever did for me.
While maybe doing porn wasn't exactly what my parents had in mind, I'd like to hope that they would be proud of the things I've achieved because of having done it.
I'm not a saint or a poet, but I do think that I've been able to appreciate life as it's happened. And, as I've sought out opportunites and new adventures, I have not had to do it alone. There have been many who have been right there in the trenches with me - Dan, Andrew, Rob, Jodie, Eric, Matt, Ro, AB, Barbara, Evan, Frazer, Erica, Tony, Kylie, Terry ....... and oh God, so many more, too numerous to mention.
I was told by a wise man when I first started doing porn never to say "I am so lucky" because it sounds hideously arrogant. But I have to break that this time. I have been lucky. I have been lucky to have found so many awesome amazing wonderful people along the way - who were crazy enough to believe in me and my projects and who stuck around to see them through and didn't run for the hills when things got fucking hard.
As I turn 50 tomorrow, I am grateful for all of this and much more. I feel sorry for anyone of any age who doesn't or can't appreciate the beauty of age and experience. You are really missing a truly incredible part of what life has for you. I am not sure what will come next, but I am grateful for all the lessons that I have been taught over the past 50 years, and look forward to all the wonderful opportunities that lay ahead.
To the Anti Violence Project, I have been honored to be a part of your fundraising team and hope that I can continue to support your mission in the coming years in other ways. No one should be beaten or humiliated. I am glad that you all are there to help stem the tide of rising anti LGBTQA (A=AIDS) violence.
To my friends who got up and spoke so beautifully and eloquently at the 50th birthday party, I can only say to you, that each of you has made an impact in my life in ways that you may never know but I hope that I will always be a man that you can continue to be proud of.
To Doug from Big Gay Ice Cream who joined us with ice cream for all, you sir are amazing. And I wish you a lifetime of continued success. Thank you for being a part of this event and of my life.
To Matt Knife who showered me with a sexy strip (and created an original piece of artwork (left) and to Yolanda who sang "We Are Angels" for me, I love you both as family. Matt's got the next Homo Erectus coming up at Stonewall on Thursday March 20th and Yolanda has an ALL NEW show at the Duplex on Sunday March 16th (click on this link for deets)
To Witti Repartee, who really is practically family, thank you for jumping in and emceeing the birthday party and singing not one, not two but three numbers (including, as I secretly hoped, Bette's "One More for the Road") - I love you very much. And thank you (and Farrah Moans) for the beautiful butterfly pin. It's something I'll treasure for the rest of my life. But I'll still beat your ass next Xmas when we're playing Cards Against Humanity, though! It's ON!! LOL <wink>
To Manny who organized cake and balloons and a cool big "50" card for people to sign, this past year was such a gift. To work with you again, was one of the best birthday presents that I could have ever gotten.
To AB, I meant it when I said to you in front of our Final Bingo crowd - you were never ever an Ed McMahon - you were always a partner in how P*rno Bingo evolved. Your pictures shaped the identity of this event and you are as much responsible for it's ongoing success as I am. And that's the truth. (And you've been an amazing friend, too). :)
I could go on but I think that I've said enough and been more sentimental and maudlin than I really ought to be. :)
Now, to final business - during the night, we raised a whopping $1500 for AVP. Adding to that an additional $250 in online donations, we are at $1750 for the night.
I'd like to ask those of you reading this - if you haven't taken a moment to drop a few dollars to AVP, please do me one last favor (at least for now! LOL) and help us raise that last $250 so that we can have a $2k night. Think of it as a dollar for everytime you've beat off watching me in a movie (or whereever). :)
Click here for the AVP donation page. PLEASE remember to put "Will Clark" in the little box that says "how did you hear of us?" That way, it will be counted towards our final tally. You have until Noon EST on Tuesday March 11th.
And please click here for 55 pics by AB of the night. Our pal photographer Matty Baker also shot the night for us and at some point I'll post those too. I've just run out of time before the big birthday day itself and before I go on a two week business trip.
While this is goodbye for now, it's not goodbye forever.
I will be judging at IML (Chicago, Memorial Day weekend) and if Folsom East happens, I have been offered a job emceeing.
And I'm sure at some point at some time in the future, I'll emcee something else.... or maybe even will get the itch to do something all fundraisy again.
And then we'll have another chance to play that all American game with the all adult twist where you'll get to win fabulous prizes, listen to me interview celebrity guests and, when you get five in a row, across, down or diagonal, shout out, 'PORRRRRRRRNO BINGO'.
Til then, my friends, I wish you well. :)
With great love and affection for making my life amazing for the past 19 years,
March 8, 2014