Good afternoon, peeps - thanks for stopping by over the past few days as I've gotten some closure on last summer's final run of P*rno Bingo - I originally went ahead with booking ten nights last summer as, in my corporate events job, things had slowed down due to some stuff that the higher ups were doing - which eventually led to several people in the company losing their jobs including the head of Corporate Communications and the head of Marketing.. and me (among many others). Frankly, I could see this coming from a mile away and so I wondered if there was really an audience for Bingo any longer and, more importantly, if I was still up for doing it in the probable case that I would soon be unemployed again.
While I had a blast as I always do with events I produce and emcee (it's always about the awesome people I get to hang out with), I realized that P*rno Bingo was finally done and I needed to walk away. Thankfully I don't think that the "victory lap" last summer diminished the power of Final Bingo on February 26, 2014. Yeah, that kind of stuff matters to me. Anyway, I think it's significant that after the layoff in December, I didn't think about the possibility of ramping up bingo nights as an income generator for myself for a couple weeks... and then my own internal response was just a sort of "nope, I think that's not something I'm going back to". But less you think that I didn't hang on for awhile, know that I only picked up the "bingo box" (where all of our event materials live) from Charlies until last week (I had left it there to pick up 'in a couple weeks' last August). I guess in some way that marked a closure for me.
Anyway, in addition to being the last bingo of the run, and the last bingo ever, we also acknowledged my 20 years in the XXX industry - I made my first flick on August 4, 1995. I had thought about getting some Will Clark flicks to giveaway, but realized with that too that it was just time to move on from that as well.
The final night was pretty special in it's own right - Rev. Yolanda, one of my dearest friends, joined for one last appearance and I was super grateful. Yo has been incredible busy the past couple years getting legit work as an actor as well as touring with his gospel show. Watching his career bloom like this has been amazing. On a related note, if you're in New York this Sunday, February 21st from 3pm to 5pm, you can hear Rev. Yolanda do her two hour show with special guests Candy Samples, Doreen Younglove and Rev. Glen - as they sing, have brunch, and celebrate life with inspirational music and message. The show is conveniently located at Sidewalk NYC' - 94 Ave. A. There's a two drink minimum so this ain't like the church you're used to in any way, shape, or form. If you have any questions, check out Rev. Yolanda's page about the event by clicking HERE.
In addition to the awesome Rev. Yo, I managed to have a surprise for my other best friend, Matthew, who visits often from San Francisco. You might remember the post from the other day where I referred to my ex as one of my best friends, Matthew is the other. I've known Matthew since June 30, 1991 when he was doing outreach for the Stop AIDS Project in Chicago at Pride (see the PS for additional note) . He's been a constant companion for nearly 25 years and was a nice coincidence that he was in town for the final final final P*rno Bingo. :)
So, to honor him, and also celebrate him having just turned 50, I chose what I guess is an unusual gift - his favorite song. But not just any favorite song, one that he expressly asked be sung at his funeral (which I, as one of his many loved ones hope is not for decades)... and just in case for some reason I'm not around then to arrange it, I thought 'why wait'.... so my gal pal Kylie Edmond of Rock and Rawhide fame helped me bring in a wonderful, awesome, beautiful singer named Kelly Taylor Brown who did a beautiful solo rendition of "For Good" from Wicked.
And just in case you think it is for any reason unearned - Matthew has spent his entire life working with non-profits and currently sits on two boards - including "Academy of Friends" which throws an annual Oscar bash to raise funds for San Francisco based organizations.
He really has done immense good in his life - but not just for bunches of random people - but, specifically, for me. You see, he's been a constant these past 25 years - as I've had family troubles, various boyfriends, and have done one thing or another, Matthew has been around all the time. And when I forget details of this or that, Matthew chimes in to remind me of my own history. I, in turn, remember conversations we've had over the decades and frequently quote back to him when appropriate in current conversations like footnotes in a graduate thesis. It's a friendship that works pretty well.
Kelly's voice is gorgeous and because of her fun attitude, she instantly became one of the "Bingo family", the last addition before the end. And although the picture in this blog doesn't cover everyone who is a part of the family (Yolanda had to leave early and there are at least a dozen folks who weren't there that I would absolutely consider to be Bingo family), this is really pretty much the core group - Bingo regulars who became friends, an old college buddy that loved Bingo, Matthew, Kylie, AB and Manny our bartender..... I look at this photo and think that it's really neat - ten years of Bingo and these are the amazing people that are in my life because of it (again, many many others could be considered in this group as well).
But, you know, when someone asks me what I got out of those ten years, yes it's the satisfaction of raising money for important causes, and yes I love putting on a show, and yes "discovering" and being able to tell others about the amazing talent (like Yolanda, Witti, Beardonna, and so much more) has been important to me too.... but it's really been about the people and the friendships we've all made along the way. I guess that sounds a little hokey or corny .... but regardless, it's how I feel.
Going forward, I will miss the show and the opportunity to bring people together to raise funds for great causes... and over the past couple years I have had closure on Bingo and my Bad Boys parties, I've had closure on the crazy corporate job and the 20 years of "being Will Clark", I have some hope that all this closure only means that something really cool is up ahead and needed me to make some room for it.
So, for now, the plan is to continue to be in conversation with you all through this blog while I'm figuring out and charting my future. I feel that I'm finally recovered and have recuperated from the nearly three years that I worked for the Hammer and had to deal with the corporate world. I don't doubt that I'll go back into the corporate world (and fairly soon, frankly) but hopefully this time around I'll have a better work/life balance. Wish me luck! lol
It's with great sadness, and pleasure, really, that I write here one last time, please click here for Bingo pictures... and, as always, the photos were taken by AB. :)
More blog entries coming soon!
PS black and white photo is from a 1991 Stop AIDS newsletter - the guy in the backpack is me and Matthew is behind the table. How often in life do you get to have a photo of the precise moment when you meet your best friend??