Monday, December 26, 2016

Loring Park Episode #66: The Holiday Show

Children, I can't believe 2016 is almost over! I have never enjoyed this time of year, probably because I have worked retail my entire adult life. That's why this episode is gonna be choppier than usual. It's been so long since I've written to you that we have to go all the way back to Halloween!

With my friend Ria at Lush

My friend Angie made this for me!



I decided to attempt creativity by being a shark/lifeguard, even though a lifeguard can't really save you from a shark. I wore my old "Baewatch" tee and a onesie from the kids' department that I purchased from Reid. Jared was Dorothy Gale, Joey was Adam Levine, and Steve, who had spent months discussing grandiose group outfit ideas (ranging from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Fifth Harmony), ended up borrowing a pair of camo pants and was an army man. I remember enjoying Halloween this year! We had a boy staying over that weekend and I was in drunk mommy mode. Diva came out with us and next year she is going to do special effects make-up on all of us.

The day after real Halloween, we had an 8 AM meeting at work and I had to work until 6! Cue horror music. Then, Sarah McPeck and I were off to CAMP bar for a live podcast of "Not So Kosher". I felt bad because when I got there I was really ornery and was worried that I wouldn't be any pleasant, but the hosts were really great and once we started recording I think I felt like myself again. It's hard to feel "on" all the time, especially when you're coming off of a bender and on three hours of sleep. I was glad Sarah was there; she's a pro and our paths often intersect. Two months later, we would reunite again doing a corporate gig at Regis, where we were told we couldn't swear to talk about sex. Sarah was like a star student and wrote a poem about getting her hair done. I talked about sex anyway.

Despite how tired I was, the boys and I went to go see The Girl on the Train at 10 PM that night anyway. It is about an alcoholic mess of woman who cares far too much about the lives of other people instead of her own and she isn't quite sure what the truth is and is an incredibly unreliable narrator. If you take away all the parts about infidelity and murder, I found it oddly relatable and that worried me. Also, there was too much sex in it for me to enjoy myself in mixed company and the next time we all went to the movies it was to see the much more palatable Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which I thought was going to be a documentary about Grindr.

Speaking of horror, after Halloween was Election Day! I worked as an election judge in my local precinct. These were my biggest surprises of election judging this year:

1. A surprising number of people do not realize that you can't just go in and vote anywhere you want. You have to vote, y'know, where you live. As part of my pledge of helping people vote in any way I can, I looked up where certain people needed to go. Two men were pleasant when told they had to go to St. Paul and Columbia Heights, respectively; one guy said "Fuck this" and went home.

2. An older man came in with a "service dog" that jumped on everyone. Mmm-hmm. It turned out he had already voted absentee.

3. Jared and his boyfriend live in my precinct and arrived with half an hour to spare! Woo hop!

Despite how horrifying I look in this picture, this was eight days after Halloween.


4. I really liked seeing first-time voters, especially a group of young women from a local drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.

After closing up shop, I went to the neighbor's house across the street to watch the results. Goldschlager was involved. Of course, we all know what happened.


I could have stayed in the fetal position forever, but we have work to do -- and donations to make to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. It's gonna be a rough four years, y'all. Still, I was happy to see that Minnesota had super high voter turnout, and I still have a kum-ba-ya world view in that I have more respect for those who vote period than those who agree with me but stay home on Election Day for reasons of varying bogusness.

                                             ***


I'm a month away from being 30 and a half now, and I'm still not used to it. I somehow became even more of a man child this year. I legitimately don't know how to do anything. It's a miracle I can wipe my own butt some days. While in the car one night, I had a conversation with Steve -- who is 23 but, like, a grown-up -- and I said that I spent a lot of my twenties obsessed with complicated men and trying to figure them out, and this year I have to figure out who the hell I am at 30. Also, I don't want to date boys who are freshmen in college (you at least have to be born before the Butterfly album came out), but I don't relate to men my actual age, who have degrees and grown-up jobs and mortgages. But 24-year-old men want to date either other 24-year-old men or 40-year-old daddies, and I'm this weird twink-adjacent goofball.

So I had this in the back of my head when Dane and I went to a very fancy fundraiser at Coup d'etat in Uptown, and I hadn't been there since my friend Jenny's birthday party years ago. The food and the people were lovely, and we were there to support a great charity, and yet I couldn't help but feel inadequate. Dane is in management now, and he and a young woman of 28 were discussing the complexities that go with that. He was trying to include me in conversation and I just wanted to become more invisible.

"Jakey has a show in St. Paul," he said to be encouraging.
"Well, God love you for thinking I would ever go to St. Paul," a young woman laughed, and I just wanted to go.

Dane won the biggest raffle prize. Of course he did.

                               ***

My friend Chad Kampe of Flip Phone fame graciously gave me a free ticket to Christmas Queens! It was a show that consisted of most of the girls from RuPaul's Drag Race Season 6, with Roxxy Andrews and Tatianna. I sat next to a drag queen who left at intermission. The highlight of the show for me was Chi Chi Devayne's rendition of Mariah Carey's "O Holy Night", as she took us to church! Bob the Drag Queen was the host and was worth the price of admission. Okay, my ticket was free, but you know what I mean. She kept the show moving, even if they kept on flickering the lights on during the Q & A and this did not deter certain queens from telling long and meandering stories that don't go anywhere. And now I know what I am like at parties.



This is from a different show; at our show, Chi Chi was wearing a long red gown. It was sickening. I gagged.

                        ***



The show in St. Paul was a lot of fun! Christina Jackson let me be the co-host, and it worked out great because I go to to stand-up first, BEFORE the crowd gets too drunk, and then help her introduce the drag acts throughout the evening. For a Friday night at the Townhouse, our crowd was fun and respectful. I was really shy when I first got there -- stand-offish even -- and I feel bad about that. But it's weird when you're the only non drag queen in the cast! I felt like a PA on RuPaul's Drag Race. I didn't want to be in the room with them while they changed and tucked and everything, so I just sat on my phone randomly texting people. One of the queens lip-synced to old school Mariah "Vision of Love" and "Vanishing". TAKE ALL MY MONEY. After the show, while waiting downstairs for my Uber as the queens were now to untuck in the Interior Illusions Lounge, one of the performers was blatantly hitting on me and I literally didn't know what to do. Maybe it's because I haven't been hit on since 2009. Don't get me wrong, I was flattered, but I was also really uncomfortable and just wanted to go The Saloon where I could be ignored all night. That's my "normal". (Also, I ran into Under Armour and then shamelessly flirted with him while he looked for the nearest visible exits, so at least I am consistent in my hypocrisy)

I got hit on the next afternoon, at LUSH, by someone who is super sexy. I still didn't do anything. I don't know what I want. And it's not like my self-imposed celibacy is because I am still hung up on somebody who I am never going to see again and that ship fully sailed away a year and a half ago, although I did see his name blow up the cell phone of a twink sitting next to me while at a hotel party. It was a master class in restraint, as I did not start bawling my eyes out in jealousy that I'm not getting the "What's up?" text messages at 2:45 in the morning. Maybe I'm overthinking it and he wanted to discuss philosophy. I shouldn't have gone to that stupid party anyway.



Is anyone else watching Mariah's World?

**crickets**

Okay, fine. Well, *I* am, and I convinced Chad to let me guest-host a Mariah's World viewing party at LUSH for its season premiere. Sunny Kimaraya was the featured queen, and I enjoy her. I think she's hilarious and bawdy and gorgeous. Anyway, the show was a bigger disaster than Glitter. Nobody but me cared about it, and at one point a twink demanded that we play Ariana Grande. Also, I was booed when I did trivia questions that had a trick answer. Mariah does not have a middle name, although Wikipedia says it's Angela for some reason.




I reunited with my friend Sina!! She came back from L.A. for a weekend and didn't even tell me! And she got me a Red Bull! The same day that I did the aforementioned Regis gig, we ate at Alma with our mutual friend Jack. Everything there is so healthy! Like, everything is kale. I had a salad and a spritzer. Sina said I lost weight and asked if I was okay and I made ridiculously transparent small talk about California. #deflection

I only accidentally killed Jack and myself three times while driving us around Minneapolis. We stopped at Twin Cities Leather & Latte, where a man decided to read Lavender magazine out loud and let the entire establishment know his disdain for everything that was offered in the magazine. I was annoyed by his negativity.

Being around the open sexuality of a sex-themed coffee shop awakened me. "I'm going to have a slut phase in 2017," I declared when we got back in the car.
"Why not start now?" Jack smiled, and I hugged him for a little bit longer than I should have. The woman next to us in the parking lot smiled. Baby steps.

***

I lost my wallet for the 8,150th time and this was a week after I thought I had lost it when it was really on the stove and Joey told me to at least put all my duplicate ID's somewhere safe. It was stolen at The 19 on a Tuesday. I am most alarmed about why I went to The 19, because it was 1 AM and my friend Chris was over and he doesn't even drink and there was plenty of booze in the house. I have become so much more impulsive lately.

We were still able to have our Christmas party, and it was a highlight of my year. It was just me, Loretta, Greta (rhyming!), Jared, Joey, Reid, and Steve ... and it was all I needed. Every other present was alcohol-related. Jared gave us all peach candles so we can find the joy of re-gifting.



Friends of mine had unbearable tragedy. Steve, Loretta and I went to the fundraiser at LUSH. Our community takes care of our own, gosh darn it.

It put things in perspective because I really have nothing to complain about, and yet I think this was the most difficult year of my adult life (not counting the year I was 20 and majorly suicidal and then transferred to a college out East at the last second. Is "majorly" a word?). I can't blame anybody else for it, either. There comes a time when you realize that the common denominator in all your interpersonal conflicts might be ... (gasp) ... You.

I don't want to make excuses -- if I was an on-looker, I would wonder what the hell was wrong with this person who is amongst the oldest of his group but is somehow the least mature, who starts screaming in the street at 2:45 A.M., who camps at his mother's for a month in lieu of solving conflict, who is being sued for a third of his income and spends all his money on Ketel One, who couldn't appreciate anything and spent too much time and energy worried about the stupid shit.

I don't ask anyone to understand. I just hope people know how fucking exhausting it was.

New Year's Eve is coming up. It's my third favorite day of the year if you count Pride weekend as one big long day (which it kind of is, no?). 2016 was my year of going nuts, and maybe 2017 will be the year of standing back up.

Then again, I'll be 31 ....

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Loring Park Episode #65: Garbage Person Dumpster Fire

It took 65 episodes, but I officially became the Vicki Gunvalson of Loring Park. I am not the star of this fake show anymore. I am the maligned villain who thinks she's all that and a bag of Fritos.




In the past, I have written about other people, whether they wanted me to or not, and when they treated me wrongly I called them out. So it is only fair, dear reader, to divulge that in the past month I turned into a full-on garbage person. I cannot present myself as a perfect bastion of innocence who everyone is trampling on for no reason at all. The truth is far from that, children! I turned 30 and evolved into an anxiety-ridden, possessed demon.




I told my friend Tanya about it and she said not to worry because she puts her dumpster fire status on full display. Then I combined the two and decided I was a Garbage Person Dumpster Fire.



In no particular order, here are the horrible things I have done in the past month and a half:


  • Made comments in a group setting that I thought were hilarious but instead were hurtful
  • On the way to The Saloon for the RuPaul's Drag Race viewing party, I pet a stray dog and realized I somehow stepped in his shit and had dog shit all over my hand. I wanted to run home to wash my hands, but my companion insisted we just stop at Target instead. This would be an apt metaphor, because when our large group got back to the house, I really stepped in shit. I had an impromptu private conversation with somebody in my bathroom. Unfortunately, I have no inside voice despite the sink and the fan running, and everyone and their dog heard it (and whether or not the conversation even needed to happen is up for internal debate). You're an asshole, said a third party in a broken voice, and we did not speak for ten days, ten days of constipation in which I saw their birthday and alma mater everywhere and even watched an HBO show where a character had the same obscure last name. It was not a good stretch of time.
  • Made passive-aggressive Facebook posts whose subjects were open to interpretation
  • Told a woman my brother was interested in all about our tumultuous teenage years
  • Locked my keys in the car twice and then lost them again for the 87th time

Now, let's put our thinking caps together. What could possibly be the common thread in all of these events?






Well, okay, but if we're gonna be a little less self-victimizing, the other answer is ...



Vodka! Sweet and glorious vodka!

And I love vodka.  I love vodka on the rocks. I love vodka with lemonade. I love vodka with Sprite. I love vodka in shots full of sugar and calories. But it was becoming excessive. I searched what little of my soul there was left and decided that I needed to put a moratorium on booze. It was time for Ocsober.


It was October 4th and I could go until Halloween weekend without a drop. It would be hard, but I could do it! When I hosted at the '90s, Tim could make delicious Shirley Temples or anything else that you put Sprite and grenadine with. I could still have sugar! My skin would clear up, my waist would get smaller, and I would stop destroying all of my interpersonal relationships.

I read articles about how to stop drinking for a limited time. They said to tell a lot of people because then you are held more accountable, and that the first week will be the hardest and the last week will be the easiest.

I lasted three days.



Wait, wait. I have a half-assed explanation.



We were all at The Saloon for the RuPaul's Drag Race viewing party. I told people I wasn't drinking. "But you're horrible sober," someone said. "How will we understand you when you're not slurring everything?" At the end of the show, we were all standing in a group: Me, the usual suspects, and our friends including Carter, who is born in the mid-to-late '90s and is blonde with dimples and a really good body. Did I mention I was feeling anxious about situations that I may or may not have created in my own head? Okay.

This older man -- good-looking, though! Short but like a stacked body -- was drunk and was trying to mingle with all of us. Which is fine. I don't think we're a cliquey or snotty group. Just don't be obnoxious about it, y'know? Anyway, Joey, Reid and Steve were annoyed with him so he moved on over to me.

"You're like me," he said. "You're the eccentric one."



Well, I ... guess that's a fair snap judgment? Yes, I have the worst body in this group and I am wearing a hoodie and I am in a weird mood in which I don't want attention (I told y'all it was a weird month. I still went up on stage anyway throwing a plastic bag at a cute boy performing -- it makes sense if you were there. He was lip-syncing to "Firework" by Katy Perry and I happened to have a plastic bag with me because Joey and I went right to The Saloon from Nordstrom Rack. Or maybe that happened a week later. I can't remember.) But, still? I was uneasy. Was this me now? Next year? In five years. I wanted to go home and drink.

"And YOU," the guy said to Carter. "You must just be the pretty one that people only hang out with because you're gorgeous."
Carter smiled nervously through a smile that was tighter than his butt.
"Now, that's not fair, " I said. I don't even know Carter that well, but he's always been kind to me and it was a nasty comment to make. "Carter is not just eye candy. He is also a painter and a sculptor."
"Wait, what?" Carter asked. "No, I'm not."
"Shhhh," I said. "Just go with it."
"Wait, really?" said the creepy guy. "I own an art museum."
Oh, shit. Of all the fake careers and facts I could have made up about Carter, I chose one that actually applied. This was worse than when Erin and I went to Jetset and tried to pretend we were from Seattle and the one hot guy we talked to was from there and our cover was blown.

It was torrential rain outside, and Markie drove Steve, Joey and me to the house. Joey took my car to go to the liquor store. I left my phone in Markie's car and he dropped it back off. I took a shower and shaved my face because we were going to go back to The Saloon. Jared and Mitchel came over. It kept raining. We played Uno. And I got hammered.

                           ***





Not all was awful in the past few weeks. The hilarious Maggie Faris took me on the road with her to Eau Claire to perform at The Plus! I got to be off that Saturday, so first I went to LUSH to play bingo with my friend John from the '90s. I didn't win.

I was sure to be ready on time, because lesbians are punctual! They also drive like demons, because we were in and out of Eau Claire in record time. The crowd was older than I anticipated because it was homecoming weekend, but the show went great and I was able to mingle with friends from Stout who I hadn't seen in nearly ten years!




Maggie and I drove back and I brought her to The Saloon, where she was more popular than I was. She did lament the lack of females there, but, like ... fuck. It's The Saloon.

***

Year in review

A week later, Reid and I went to karaoke on a Tuesday, where I serenaded the crowd with "What A Man" by Salt 'n' Pepa. It was a good time and laughter and deep conversations were had.

And the next morning, we were at Stage Four Nuclear Meltdown all over again. I don't even fucking know. It was 7 A.M. I left the house to drive in my car and scream, and then I came back and tried falling back asleep, but I couldn't, and my heart was going to fall out of my chest. I debated going to a free counselor at a walk-in clinic, but I had to work at 2 and the earliest I would be seen was 1 and I am still new in my job and I didn't really want to tell my new manager, Hi, I'm gonna be late because I'm going crazy but I'll see you at 2:45!, so I sucked it up and even went to work early. In my half hour of down time, I got a call from a study I am participating in saying that I had an STI, even though no one has been back there since the Stone Age.

I clocked into work and didn't need to be around anybody for two hours, which was a nice bonus. I could do this! I clued in Reid that I was not feeling awesome. At 4 PM I reported to my work station, where I am to smile and greet customers and take care of things. I couldn't stop pacing.

"Are you okay?" asked a co-worker.
"No," I heard myself say.
"Do you want to come to the back with me?" asked another co-worker who has turned into my Work Mom.
"Uh-huh," I said in the distance.

She told me to go get water from the espresso bar. I started stirring my straw furiously. The loss prevention agent asked if I was okay. I was silently tearful at this point. I said no but I told him it had nothing to do with work (customers are, like, nice to me in this job). He politely encouraged me to go upstairs to the Human Resources office. It was like school. I walked the escalator up three floors and walked by Reid, who saw the whole thing but was with a customer.

The HR lady sat me in a private office. Oh my god. We officially have a crying room.

"It's not work," I kept saying. "I'm fine. I'm fine."
"Shhhh," she kept saying. "Breathe. Anxiety is physical. You have to ride this out."
I looked around nervously. "This has been going on for a while," I said.
"Should we call your mom?" she asked.
"My mom is on vacation," I sobbed. "And she deserves it! I've drained her out of so much money."
"Do you live with your mom?" she asked.
"No," I said. I don't think the HR lady knows I'm 30!
"I'm gonna leave and shut the blinds," she said. "And I don't want you to do any thinking."

Half an hour later, she snuck me a bag of animal crackers. Having a nervous breakdown at work is a lot like having a nervous breakdown at daycare.

The situation would repeat itself the next night at The Saloon. The Saloon! My safest, happiest, place. I can't go anywhere anymore! I was talking down a friend from the proverbial ledge and maybe I took on his feelings after our conversation ended, because after I was done wiping his tears away and sent him to the dance floor, I saw another friend was holding hands with one of my eight million crushes, and my brain went snap-crackle-pop. Why was this the catalyst?? It makes absolutely no sense. It's not like they were making out or banging each other on the table, and even if they were, it would have been their right! (Well, maybe not the banging on the table thing because of laws about that stuff, but they could have gone home to bang) The bouncers were very sweet and gave me Sprite and even asked if I wanted to sit in the office. Tim let me stay at his place. I lost my keys and my left shoe. Also, Tim has a gorgeous apartment and I should have gone into bar tending.

My shoe was retrieved, but my keys never were, so I had to walk of shame it to my leasing office, which was thankfully in the North Loop (Tim is in the adjacent Warehouse District). There is nothing to re-iterate your newfound trash box status like walk of shaming it in the North Loop, past all of the salons and expensive brunch places and condos you will never be able to afford. I debated telling the leasing company a whopper of a lie (I got mugged! But only my keys!), but decided to just be honest to the beautiful young woman behind the counter.

"I had an ... episode last night and lost my keys," I said.
She found out who my agent was and told me to wait. "Would you like some coffee or water?" she pleasantly asked.
Go big or go home. "Coffee with a LOT of sugar, please," I said. They had a black lab in the office that made everything better. If I ever get my money right and my own, bigger place, I am getting a labrador.

The leasing agent came in shortly after with my keys (and news of a $50 deposit). "Everything going okay?" he asked.
"Oh, well ..." I began.
"...With the house?" he was sure to clarify.
"Oh, just great," I said.

I then stopped at The Saloon for a cocktail. My phone was going to die and my charger was in my car so I bought one of those boost charger things, although St. Loretta made plans to come over to get me a new car key. I felt bad because Johnny was the bartender and he was one of the first people that I told I was doing Oscober (and we know how that went). Nina DiAngelo, out of drag, was putting up Halloween decorations. A handsome 40-year-old from Orlando was there and Johnny and I told him where to go every night as far as the club scene. An athletic man of the same age sat by me but only ordered a water with cherries and said he was kicked out of an earlier restaurant. He later told me his husband was cheating on him and wanted an open relationship. I told him monogamy is not for everyone but both partners need to be on the same page or it's a deal-breaker. An elderly gay couple told me I was cute. You find your people when you're day drinking.

I took an Uber to the government office (I lost my ID on a different night, for the 87th time) and got in touch with St. Loretta, who was beyond annoyed but made plans to deliver a car key to my house. I cried all the way on the walk home and made awkward eye contact with handsome young lawyers. None of them asked what was wrong and for my hand in marriage, but a boy could dream.

Maybe you should get sober

You will make a better atmosphere for everyone

I am trying to help you help me

Sobriety = Rehab

Rehab = Going far away

Going far away = Never coming back

Never coming back = I would miss everyone

It was a lot to think about.

I made plans to go to her house later and then went to my appointment at Planned Parenthood. They were busy! 7 PM on a Friday night at "the clinic" is apparently the place to be. They asked if Joey was still my emergency contact and he had been upsetting me all week, so I let out a big "Awwwwwwwwwwwww. Yessssssssssssssssss." and the lady behind the counter nervously smiled.

I decided to get tested for everything. Considering I probably got an STI from a sex dream, one could never be too careful.

"A lot of girls would kill to be your weight," said the nurse.
"I almost did," I replied. She politely laughed and then I drank the antibiotic-in-a-cup that tastes like sidewalk chalk.

Things got back to normal in the next few days. I was lucky enough to participate in the 10,000 Laughs Festival. My show was at the new Royal Comedy Theater in Hopkins. Even my brother came! It has the fanciest green room I have ever seen in my life. Basically, it's like a kitchenette with a stocked fridge and food and it felt like I was in the Big Brother house. I was especially excited to see Tiffany Norton (a.k.a. Bangs from KS95) again, because she's one of the first people I met doing comedy and I always gravitated toward the ladies.

After the show, we met with people from the city who were thrilled that Hopkins has a comedy club. "We've wanted to do this forever," a lady said.
"I love this downtown," Tiffany said. "It's like Edina."
"Don't say that!" the lady cried. "We'll never be Edina!"
"No, I just mean the architecture," Tiffany clarified. "I used to work for a construction company."
The Hopkins natives invited us for drinks, but we had to go previous social obligations. I kind of felt snobby about it.

Dane and I drove to Plymouth to my friend Lee's house, where he was having a neon-themed party! I didn't own anything neon, so we all just threw neon headbands at each other. It was fun until we played "I Have Never" because I have the sex life of a nun and always feel inadequate about myself playing that game (I spent my prime years living with my parents having emotional affairs on the Internet), and someone divulged that they had sex on someone's blanket, and the owner of the blanket STARTED SHOUTING IN VERY HIGH DECIBELS and if I had the money I would have just ordered him a new blanket from Amazon right then and there. Dane was a very good sport during all the gay sex talk, though. I think he was less fazed than I was!

I still had a good time as Lee is always a gracious host. I left my 10,000 Laughs t-shirt there. Of course I did. They even spelled my name right.

The next day, Steve and I went to Spring Street Tavern where all the comics were having brunch! We got there late (which was my fault -- shocking, I know), so we just sat at the bar and had bloody Marys because I was driving and needed something to sip. Tiffany hung out with us and later she met us at LUSH along with David Harris. Then we went to the mall so Steve could find last minute outfits for his upcoming trip to Hawaii, and my quest for dress pants was fruitless. I literally only bought Chap Stick. It was a sad day in the world of retail.

That night, I did my '90s hosting gig (where I beat Steve at darts in a miracle of miracles) and we were back at The Saloon. Joey reneged on coming to the '90s but made it to The Saloon and he explained that extenuating circumstances were making him act differently than usual, and I understood it. Then Sexy Jesus bought me a shot. Hallelujah.

                 ***

Steve was gone for a week and I didn't know what to do with myself! It's not like we hang out all the time -- I'm kind of like a whiny mosquito -- but who would listen to me repeat the same 50 stories over and over? Thankfully, my work schedule didn't leave much room for partying, and I stayed at my parents' at least one of those nights. That Friday night, Joey and I went to Mansion!


He only want me when I'm not there
He better call Joey with the good hair


We were nervous because we read so much about the dress code and I've read about people being turned away at the door, but I think if you wear black shoes, you're fine (also, Joey graciously let me borrow a sport coat). Also, be sure to go in the regular line and not the bottle service line. I still had my yellow papers from my lost ID but the bouncer was cool. "I don't need that shit, Jacob," he said good-naturedly.

Y'all, Mansion is fancy! We met a friend of Joey's who later lamented that she was turned down by Ricky Rubio. "I even spoke Spanish," she pouted.
"You already have a boyfriend," I said. "You were just talking about how hot he is."
"But it's Ricky Rubiooooo," she whined.

We walked to The Saloon where Joey talked to his hot and ripped neighbor, and across the bar I saw the boy who broke the heart of the boy who broke my heart, and I kind of got it.


(Sometimes you just need some Stevie)

Work at my regular job is steady. Wish I had more gigs but I have to get myself out there more often and no one is gonna do that for me.

I'm working on a book.

I think my Rogaine is working and I am currently less than my drivers' license weight.

I'm trying to have adult conversations about things.

Not everything is about me.

Talk is cheap, though. It's your actions that people will truly remember you by. I can only hope that I would be remembered as a good person instead of a garbage person dumpster fire, but I have no control over that shit. As long as they spell my name right in the yearbook, I'm good. It's Emmert, not Emmret.

Next week: Our Halloween episode! Scarier than me without make-up!






Thursday, September 22, 2016

Loring Park Episode #64: No Sex and the City




I had no idea what to call this episode. I was going to call it Adrift in New York, which is my blog from when I lived in New York NINE YEARS AGO (we'll get to that later). Then I thought something cheesy like New York State of a Crazy Mind, New York Minute (of Agony) or You Can't Go Home Again. Maybe I'll change it before I finish, I don't know.

We were going for Joey's birthday, and I am the poor irresponsible friend and he basically subsidized my entire trip. It was an amazing time and I fell in love with the city all over again! Most displeasure I had was entirely my own fault. I had been a tightly wound ball of anxiety before the trip, about things that were really stupid, and I was worried that the trip would only exacerbate these worries.




As we talked about last week, something snapped in my brain when it turned 30 and it hasn't been put together yet. In Minneapolis, I am disgusting but I am D-list famous if I am at The Saloon and occasionally at The 19 -- depending who is there -- so I don't have to worry about not getting attention. In New York, I was going to be with Joey (who looks like a model), Steve (who is masculine and laid-back, two things I AM VERY MUCH NOT), James and Marco (who are a happy and drama-free couple), and Barney (who is older, handsome and just doesn't give a shit). I had convinced myself that I was a hideous troll and no strangers would want to talk to me the entire time. Nobody told me this, by the way; in fact, Joey and my friend Angie had tried to convince me otherwise. But it was in my head. I am not sexually active. Sex is currency. I am not having sex with anyone and therefore I have no value. Also, I had never hung out with everyone as a group before, and I didn't know what the dynamic was going to be like. Do I leave when the party starts? Should I find a nice older man to bring me to Staten Island?

The first snafu happened the night before the trip! I was going to to hit up the '90s to cheer on Autumn Vixxen in the amateur contest with Woody, who was back in town for just a few days, but Joey was on his way over and Steve had gone to the 19. Joey finally arrived after midnight (it took forever for him to find a parking space that would last him until Monday), and we played darts at the 19, where I reunited with man about town Todd O'Dowd. We got home at bar close and had about two hours of rest before hitting the airport. Joey and I had a flight that left at 8 AM, and Steve and his crew were on a flight that left a little bit later. Also, Joey and I had a layover at O'Hare and the other group was flying direct. The plan was that we would meet at Barney's apartment in Eagan and a car service would bring us all to the airport. This is what I was told.

Again, I spent a better deal of the trip with horrific NYC flashbacks. Nine years ago I transferred to Brooklyn College. I was incredibly depressed and had been suicidal my entire sophomore year, and this transfer came out of nowhere. I was going in completely blind. My mother and I weren't even speaking to each other, yet she was flying with me in August of 2007 to help me move and get settled in (to the expensive apartment that she was paying for, yet I couldn't appreciate anything at that point). This was the Monday after the 35W bridge collapsed. We missed the flight and had to go on stand-by. It was not a good time.

Anyway, I was convinced we were going to miss the flight and that I was cursed. We got to Barney's apartment on time and he didn't answer the door right away. When he let us in, he was going through his beauty routine and we were watching Season 5 of RuPaul's Drag Race. He graciously made me a Screwdriver to assuage my nerves.

And then the clock ticked. And ticked. And ticked.

And now we have been there for half an hour and nobody feels like moving and our plane is leaving in 90 minutes and my mother has always told me to be at the airport at least two hours early and Barney is still in the bathroom.

"Calm down," Joey had said. "We'll make the flight. Stop worrying."
"Is Barney coming?" I asked Steve.
Steve rolled his eyes. "I don't know," he said. "You ask him."

Children, the combination of anxiety, lack of sleep and the possibility of missing a flight had pushed a button!




I went from 0 to 100.

"Barney, are we leaving yet?" I asked.
"We're leaving in ten minutes," he said.
"YOU SAID THAT TEN MINUTES AGO!!!!" I shrieked. "THIS IS BULLSHIT!!!"
"Fuck you!" Barney yelled. "Don't you come into my house and speak to me like that!"
"We're getting an Uber," I snapped at Joey, and I stormed out of the apartment.

Two minutes later, I texted Barney apologizing for my actions. I didn't want him to be mad at me the entire trip! I had the right to be anxious and upset, but not to scream and swear at anybody. I tried explaining that I was under a very different impression of how our morning plans were to be conducted. He agreed. With that bullet now dodged, we were on our way to the airport, where we got on our plane ten minutes before boarding ended.

We landed in Chicago and I was still stewing. "I have to let it go," I said. "Don't hold your breath if you're waiting for an apology from Steve Howell. You'll pass out."

Immediately after I said that, my phone beeped and it was Steve saying he was sorry and that they made their flight just fine. Well, then. I wrote and deleted a response about 12 times and decided to leave my anger in Chicago. We had landed and that was all that mattered.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Loring Park Episode #63: The Comedown









This episode begins with me screaming my head off in my bathroom at 2:45 AM on a Sunday / Monday. As one does.





Well I started out down a dirty road
Started out all alone
And the sun went down as I crossed the hill
And the town lit up, the world got still
I'm learning to fly, but I ain't got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing


July 7, 2016 -- in which something I worked really hard for actually PAID OFF and I felt surrounded by love -- was one of the best nights of my life. Like, top five. Without ranking them, I would also say:

*New Year's Eve 2005 at my friend Laleh's house while we watched Mariah Carey perform in Times Square
*The surprise party for my college roommate Whitey at his parents' lavish house in Chippewa Falls
*The night I won Funniest Person in the Twin Cities
*Miami Beach with Erin, Loretta, Joey and Jared, a night that involved karaoke, gorgeous go-go boys, meeting handsome Canadians, and exotic food and drink



Perhaps the happiness of my birthday show was like a drug, in which the comedown was inevitable. Then it was my birthday (ten days of birthday!), and my life finally went back to normal. I had no gigs on the horizon. Work was busy but not as lucrative as I was anticipating. I could feel my mood starting to shift.

I went crazy for a while. And when I say "crazy", I do not wish to belittle anybody else's mental illness. I am not being treated for anything because I wasn't sure if I was gonna stay in my current job or not and would need new insurance (blah blah blah). I can call myself crazy. I can't call YOU crazy if you have anxiety or depression, because that's not nice or any of my business.




Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Loring Park Episode #62: In Which I Am Thirty

I love this movie. I saw it in the theater with my father. Two weeks later I dragged him to Mean Girls. 2004 was a magical spring. That poor man.

Yes, 30 was looming, but first I had some shenanigans as a 29-year-old to endure!

My timeline is going to get messed up because I am now 30 and my memory is fading, but I believe this episode starts at UpDown, the new video arcade in Minneapolis. We had heard about it and thought it sounded fun. I had decided that because I wanted to look and feel best during the biggest show of my career, that I was going to be sober between Pride and the show. It would just be two and a half weeks and I could do it.

I met Steve at UpDown, and Joey and Charlie soon followed. It is really fun! My only recommendation or complaint would be that you should definitely pay cash or close your tab right away, because when they take your card you have to literally be like a private investigator to track down your bartender. We kept confusing this poor girl with another girl who worked there and it was kind of annoying. Other than that, it was a hell of a time. Joey is obsessed with MarioKart but I can't play it to save my life, so I suggested games from my youth like Tetris and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

"You guys can name all the ninja turtles, right?" I asked my posse.

They looked at me blankly. Good God. Was this an age thing? I had flashbacks to daycare when we would role play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but there were too many boys to claim the roles of the turtles, Shredder, and Splinter, and we only had one girl who always got to be April O'Neill, so I always had to be April's loser friend Irma.

Me on a Saturday night.

"Oh my God," I sputtered. "I'll give you a hint. They were all named after artists."
"Leonardo DiCaprio," Joey guessed.
"Oh, wait, I know!" Steve cried. "Georgia O'Keefe!"

Then we played a zombie game where you had to go through this big mansion and there were so many zombies. Steve was almost bored playing it but I still gave him all my coins because I wanted to see him beat the big giant scary butterfly monster thing.

After our excursion at the arcade, we decided to have happy hour at moto-I, where I have never been! This was close to Joey's new apartment.

Oh my god, I forgot to tell you. Joey is MOVING. Why is this show even called Loring Park (Adjacent) anymore? Originally he was going to move to St. Louis Park, and I handed him a butcher knife from the kitchen drawer and told him to just finish me already. Uptown isn't necessarily far from Stevens Square, but the era of me walking to his place or crashing at his place after The Saloon would now be over, and I had to mourn it as yet another example that this, the year of 30, was going to bring changes.

"It's not like he's moving back to Wisconsin!" my mother told me when I was freaking out about it.

My friend Jack was also pragmatic. "It is the natural evolution of a gay man in Minneapolis," he said. "First a gay man moves downtown and gets all the clubbing out of his system. Then they move to uptown. Then they move to St. Louis Park. Then they move far away to the suburbs and are never seen again."

I had images of Joey inviting me via snail mail to his birthday barbecue in Plymouth and shuddered at the thought. My poor baby!



Anyway, we were up at moto-I at the rooftop, and I declared that I was not drinking for a week so I would have a tonic water please, while the boys enjoyed adult beverages. The food was delicious. Charlie had to go back to his home in St. Paul (he's close St. Paul, though, like by UST), and the three of us went back to the house to watch the Beyonce visual album Lemonade. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the remote after moving back to the house, so we couldn't fast-forward anything and and to watch it straight through.

"I just don't get this," Joey said about every video.
"I want to get laid," said Steve after every video.
"You boys are stressing me out!" I cried. "I need a drink!" Steve and Joey looked at each other like children when Mommy is off her medicine. And thus ended my flirtation with sobriety. I felt bad about myself for drinking again and then drank more to feel less bad about myself. I had only been holding myself accountable -- I didn't pledge to anybody else that I would do this sober kick, and the only person I was letting down was myself (and maybe my mother) -- but it still felt like an internal failure on my part.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Loring Park Episode #61: My Pride and Joy


Pride weekend was upon us! But first it was Father's Day, and I have long given up hopes of finding a sugar daddy. I planned going to LUSH and then my grandparents' house, but I was also besotted by a horrific summer cold. My dreamy doctor put me on Prednisone and again expressed concerns about me being on it because it makes people hyper and I am already pretty "squirrely." I hope that's in my file.

Anyway, I still made it to LUSH where I enjoyed brunch with my friends Ria and Micah and friends (relatives? I'm a bad listener) visiting from Kentucky. Steve had to work at 2 but stopped and said hello for a little bit.




This was our server. TAKE ALL MY MONEY. He is a dancer/entertainer and had to work all of Pride weekend, the poor baby.

Things were a little awkward because Liam was there and kept sitting at our table and I was trying to avoid him. I was immature and cryptic before, so I'm going to put it all in the open, because I've been watching a lot of Bethenny Frankel lately and I think it's important to note when you're in the wrong and acting like an asshole.

When most of my friends went to Vegas for Jared's birthday, I was at home begging my mother to help pay my debt consolidation bill because I am broke as a joke as a result of my own poor decisions. I felt like shit about it but understood my current circumstances, and jokingly told my friends that if any of them went to the Mariah Carey concert, our friendship was over (none of them would have paid that much money to go see her, anyway. Britney? Maybe).

Anyway, while the gang was in Vegas and I was eating my feelings on my mother's couch, Liam tagged everyone at Caesar's Palace for the Mariah Carey concert and tagged ME in it with the update of "making Jakey jealous". This was not the first or last thing he had done on social media in a very short span of time to hurt my feelings, but when I look back, it was probably the most egregious. The last one was a week later when he wrote "you look old" on a Valentine's Day picture that I thought I looked good in! Maybe my skin is thicker now that I live with someone who insults my appearance at least once a week, but I was feeling sensitive that winter. So I pushed the block button. So did Joey and so did Steve. I ran into him weeks later at the bar and he cried and I told him I would be cordial to him - I wasn't gonna ice anybody out. That being said, even in February I was worrying about him trying to come to my Pride party. I wasn't going to invite him because we weren't friends anymore. But what would I do if he showed up? Would I pull a Tamra Barney and yell "LEAVE!" like he was Alexis Bellino in Season 7 of The Real Housewives of Orange County?




Now, here we were four months later, and I still hadn't tried to have a real conversation about what happened. I wanted to stay upset and non-responsive.

"I need to talk to you later," Liam said.

"Okay," I said. And I knew what this was about because he had been texting me for a month about the Pride party and I wasn't responding.

I told Ria and Micah about it and they are friends with both of us and didn't want to take sides, nor should they have. "You could always tell him it's a fire hazard and you can only invite a set number of people," Ria offered half-jokingly.

I tersely texted "You're not invited" after he implored again. At the time I thought it was a good decision, that I had true to myself and my own values and self-esteem, and that everybody would agree with me.

Um, no.

Ria, Micah, and their friends left, and while awaiting my chariot of my mother's SUV, I sauntered over to the table where Quinn and Louis were sitting. I decided to use as my greeting that I had finally told Liam he could not come to the party.



This is a picture of Megan Good and Christina Applegate from the underrated Anchorman 2. There are a surprising amount of articles about the surprising feminism of that movie. Anyway, Christina is Veronica, Ron Burgundy's estranged wife, and Megan is Linda, his sexy producer whom he is having an affair with. When the women FINALLY meet -- which I was waiting the whole movie for -- Ron encourages them to kiss or have a three-way. The women are both disgusted. "Read the room, Ron," Veronica says in my favorite part of the movie. Anyway, I couldn't find a .gif of it, but this was my same mistake. I did not read the room, and Quinn promptly yet politely ripped me an entirely new asshole.

"I am purposely finding something else to do that afternoon because of how you are acting," he said. And I want to re-iterate that it was ... Nice.  He didn't raise his voice, he didn't call me names, but rather he laid out his case in a way that I think was uncomfortable but important for him to do.

My mother picked me up, and I was a horrific Father's Day guest as I took a nap the whole time. This summer cold was kicking my butt. There was no way I could go to the '90s that night for Mystery Porn Theater, but I really didn't want to miss out on the money. It's not an exorbitant amount of money, but it's cash in my hand that I get every week, and that's a nice feeling, especially if I'm going to go home right away and not spend it on tipping drag queens upstairs and going to The Saloon afterward.

"How much do they pay you?" Loretta asked. "You sound TERRIBLE. I'll pay you if you stay home."

I texted Reid at 8 P.M. (the show is at 10) and he graciously agreed to pinch-hit for me, and the staff at the '90s was very accommodating about letting the door person know. It pays to know people. I told my mom about the party, about the plans, about Liam, about Quinn and my asshole.

"Well, you couldn't go because of your own life choices," she said. "Liam isn't the one who racked up a bunch of credit card debt. If you felt like shit about yourself, that's not his fault."
"It wasn't helping," I pouted. "He was kicking me when I was down."
"But does he know that?" she asked.
"He knows I'm pissed," I said.
"But does he know why you're pissed?" she asked, and the music at the end of every Full House episode started playing in my head.


"I told him from the get-go," I said. "I have the texts."
"Here's the thing," she finally offered. "This isn't like it's your birthday party or a dinner party. It's Pride. It should be for everyone." My mother, a 59-year-old heterosexual, was able to understand that, and I wasn't.

Over the next few days, I thought about Liamgate right before I went to bed and right when I woke up. It was consuming too much energy, and I realized the adage that the right thing to do and the hard thing to do are usually the same. When you choose to forgive, it's not so much about what it does for the other person, but what it does for you. Conversely, I have been in that position where all you want is forgiveness and reconciliation. I didn't get it. It's been over 450 days, not that I'm counting. I  texted Liam like a grown-up and invited him to the party.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Loring Park Episode #60: May I Leave The Stage Now?



This episode begins at The Depot hotel, where my friend Julie, her boyfriend, and others and I went to IGNITE, a semi-annual event in which speakers get five minutes to talk about a topic close to their hearts. I learned about living on houseboats, endangered tigers, grief, the need for more women in STEM-related businesses, and the difference between racism and bias. I felt so smart! It was sponsored by SURLY beer, and I picked the lightest one. They also had food trucks and I had a delicious taco courtesy of Stanley's.

***

We have so much to talk about! So I'm going through this identity crisis, right? In which I realize that I was never all that good-looking to begin with, but any good looks I did have are, like ... gone. And that's okay. It's what aging is.

"You're not fat," Reid said to me. Reid told me that 35 is the happiest he has ever been because he stopped giving a shit. "You're filling out. You're looking, like, y'know, a thirty-year-old should look like."

Should a 30-year-old still be at the bar? People look at you much differently, and by that I mean they don't really look at you. There is one older man who hates me for some reason. I have no idea why. He walked by me once and brusquely said "Go eat something", and I was feeling fat so I took it as a compliment.

I haven't even entertained the thought of dating since that moment when everything shattered all at once, and that was well over a year ago. For a while I had a crush on Sven, the 20-year-old go-go boy, because it was safe and harmless. Or so I thought.

We have all been going to bingo on Wednesdays lately because at the '90s, it has been at the 60 number threshold FOREVER (bingo queens will know what I'm talking about). I like going because now I have my own postcards for the Sunday night show.


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Loring Park Episode #59: An Enema and an Eggbake



This episode begins with me crying in the middle of The Saloon, like a goddamned lady.

I had been in my fourth week of limbo, in which I was living with my parents (by choice) but still wanting to go out and agreeing to stay with friends. Considering I had moved out by my own choice while still paying for all the utilities and my rent, I felt it would be beyond hypocritical for me to use my bedroom as a crash pad while still being mad at everyone.

A few nights before this, I was going to go home with Reid but there was a snafu and so I crashed at Jack's apartment. Jack's apartment is fabulously decorated, and not just because his boyfriend Barrett came over and they both have bodies like dancers (probably because they are dancers). On this evening, I was going to go home with Joey, but there was miscommunication and I thought he had left, and then I realized that I was stranded at the bar and this wasn't my faulttttttt (but it was).

Four years ago -- when life was bliss in hindsight -- I had a friend who lived in the suburbs who would frequently go to the bar, get drunk, and expect to crash at my place by the time it was bar close because he had made no plans to crash anywhere else and assumed I would just let him do it. And I did, about five times, and then I got really annoyed by it. I realized I was now being that person. I just wanted to go home. But what was home? Why hadn't I tried to work things out with Jared? It felt like a death or a divorce.

Sven, the pixie go-go boy, saw that I was crying and offered me a ride home to Esquire's house in South Minneapolis, where Steve was staying one last night before moving in with me. This is 29, getting a ride home from a beautiful and effervescent 20-year-old while the tears ruin your shitty make-up job.

The next morning I broke the faucet in Esquire's shower. I cannot have nice things.

Steve started his dramatic move, and I went to LUSH instead because I am a good friend. It was Robin's birthday and I can't turn down birthday cake! The drag legend Dee Richards joined us. I had more fun talking to Robin's mom and sister than anyone else. I love moms. I can't help it. As for my own mother, I currently owe her enough money to buy a house in Chanhassen.

***

Monday, April 25, 2016

Loring Park Episode #58: Disenchanted April

Previously on Loring Park Loring Park Adjacent St. Anthony Blues ...



I have never seen Enchanted April. All I know is that it's a British film and Joan Plowright was Oscar-nominated for it in the year Marisa Tomei won the Oscar. My friend StinkyLuLu wrote about it for his Supporting Actress Smackdown once upon a time.



I probably said this last year, too, that April is never a good month for me. Things always seem to go sour. I have spent Aprils in emergency rooms, hospitals, crying in the bathroom about a boy while reading The Glass Castle, living with my parents for a month because the apartment I wanted wasn't available until May, finding myself on a flight to New York because I got accepted to college at the last minute and I was nowhere near emotionally and spiritually ready for such a thing because I had been secretly been suicidal and depressed for the prior seven months.

It doesn't go well, is what I'm saying.

This year I decided I was going to anticipate it. And maybe that is why my April, again, did not go well. I had put it in the air that life always goes to shit in April. So first we will go to a night in March, in which I was at Jetset with Joey and a gal pal of mine who I won't name.

My gal pal came over first and we pre-gamed with delicious vodka lemonade drinks and read old LiveJournals of ours. Remember those? We went to Jetset without incident, and then within two minutes, she could barely stand up. I realized it was my responsibility to go home with her in an Uber. She almost biffed it on the way to the car.

Our Uber driver, bless his heart, thought that we were a couple. My gal pal came to life as I asked her if she remembered our honeymoon in Mexico, and how I had sun poisoning.

"I told you to bring sunscreen," she giggled. Improv! All was well!

And then, like a light switch, her brain went into a different mode. "Why are you stopping?!" she cried at the driver with terror in her voice.
"The light is red," I tried to explain. "We always stop at red lights."

We got to her apartment, an old brownstone with no elevators, and she insisted that she didn't live there. I showed her where her name was on the entrance and we began to walk up the three flights up stairs. While we were between first and second floors, a young man who kind of looked like Eminem opened his door and gave me a death glare.

I paid it no attention and we made it to the second floor. OK. One more floor. Here we go. And we're walking, and we're walking ....

...And then Eminem comes sprinting up the stairs running at me. I freak out. My friend stumbles and lands on her face.

"Is everything okay?!" he yelled. "Are you trying to do something to this woman?"
"No," I said, speaking rapidly. "We were at Jetset and she got too drunk so I'm bringing her home."
"I thought you might be trying something with her," he said.
"I am gay as hell," I cried.
"Yeah, I get that now, " said Eminem. "Um, have a good night."



I cleaned up my friend and went back to Jetset. Before I had left, I had seen Under Armour was there and so was my friend Ian (who is loud and hilarious), so I messaged them to see if they were still there. They wrote back, and I planned to act like nothing had happened. But then Joey was talking to Miles and it was a deep conversation, and I felt that maybe I should go to The Saloon. But now it was 2 A.M.! The Saloon stays open until 3, so I took a Lyft from a lovely Ethiopian woman who had no idea where she was going. Hennepin Avenue was blocked off. It was a mess. I thanked her for her time anyway and walked to The Saloon at 2:20, where they told me they weren't letting anybody else in.

"Oh," I pouted. "Thank you."

Sven, the dancer and coat check boy who looks like Link from Zelda, was on his way out. "Do you need a ride home, Jakey?" he asked. His smile was the brightest thing on the street.


Sven is like a Manic Pixie Dream Twink, so I was kind of surprised when it turns out he drives a pick-up truck.

"I only live, like six blocks away from here," I said.
"Okay," he said. That smile. I can't.

He pulled over on Lasalle.

And before your mind goes there, I am going to say that we held hands for an hour and a half. I KNOW. I remember back in WWF days, and Jerry Lawler would tell Jim Ross, "If Lady Godiva rode in here, you'd notice the horse." Still, it was a lovely moment. I hadn't held hands with a boy in a pick-up truck in over a year, and that boy was not a manic pixie go-go dancer who was good with animals, but the polar opposite in every conceivable way -- although maybe he was good with animals. I'm pretty sure he had a dog. Anyway, nothing romantically is going to happen between me and Sven. He is nine and a half years younger than me! On paper, it's ten years, but if I say nine and a half it isn't as gross.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Loring Park Episode #57: Hard Wired



Because I sincerely miss blogging and need to go back to it and not do it about things that happened months ago, we're just gonna recap everything that we missed and then do, like, a real episode soon*

*We celebrated Christ's 2015th birthday



It is always so nice to see Danny, who has now been made "Mr. Manuary" courtesy of FM 107.1! He can now join Jason Matheson in the annals of local celebrities that my mother finds more interesting than me.

Oh, I forgot to tell you guys. I was in a play!

I haven't done theater since the failed play five years ago, unless you count If They Shoot 25-Year-Old Gay Men, Don't They? -- but I don't count that since I wrote it, directed it, and played myself. Instead, I was cast as Danni in "Hard Wired", a romantic comedy about a couple who breaks up but then finds themselves accidentally dating again via technology. My part was the easy Sean Hayes part while the other three actors (who were so amazing and gracious) had to do the, y'know, actual ACTING. With all that, I wasn't mad when a review said I stole the show with a stage presence concealed beneath my small frame. I was so happy for the opportunity and felt so blessed by all the people that came to see it. We had four performances at Bryant Lake Bowl in January.


Erin extended her stay in town, in part for a cheaper flight, but also in part so see she could see the show! Here she is with my parents and grandparents. My dad was there and chose to be paparazzi instead.

On the left is my lovely and ageless Auntie Lynn. She doesn't like to drive so her husband drove her to the show and then got coffee for an hour because he doesn't like plays. It's a good thing we weren't doing Angels in America. (See, because that show, is like, six hours long. Also, who the hell would I play in Angels in America?)


Tan Man came to the show and brought a gaggle of gays who all sat in the front row. The other actors were amused by it. "Is that front row all your friends?" they asked. "Why are all they so hot?"
"Because they all do fitness and that crap," I said.

Martha and Deborah came, Joey and his work friends came, two aunts and another uncle came, my friends Julie and Adam came (I agreed to go on a cruise with her this year, then had to tearfully call her two weeks later and tell her I can't afford a piece of shrimp on a cruise -- she was kind about the whole thing), and I felt very blessed for the great turnout. There were a few people whose absence was a bummer (my brother and my roommate), but people have their own lives to live.

Did I mention I'm super poor? And when I say that I'm poor, I mean that it's my fault I'm poor. Capital One is suing me. I am finally living out my dreams of being a Real Housewife on Bravo when I can talk incessantly about my upcoming lawsuits.


Anyway, everyone but me went to Vegas, and I got to field questions for a month about why I wasn't going to Vegas. The Vegas crew was Jared, his boyfriend, his mom, Fred, Steve, Joey and Liam. Girls from work were ALSO going to be in Vegas at the same time. I felt like hot fried shit. On a Thursday night when I was in my pajamas for money, I saw that they were checked into the Mariah Carey concert at Caesar's Palace and I went from feeling like hot fried shit to hot fried shit AND a side of bacon.

Steve texted me that night and said that they didn't go, and the person who tagged them in that was trying to get attention from me -- oh, I forgot to mention I was tagged in it, too, with a super cute "Jakey would be jealous." Yeah. Because that's what friends do, right? After a few more instances of idiocy, I effectively cut that person out of my life. It's a weird thing that happens when you get older. Yes, I hate that I'm bald and fat and act like a puffy coke whore, but I love that I don't care about toxic people anymore. I have so many wonderful sources of positivity in my life (see above! all the people who came to the show!), that I don't need to fake-nice to people who don't deserve it from me.



Friday, January 22, 2016

Loring Park Episode #56: The People I Met

Because it has been so long since I have done an episode, we are going to buck tradition this week month whatever.

I have met the most fascinating people over the past two months, in my continuously erratic and messy life.

And then I'm gonna blog a lot more often and we'll get back to normal! I promise.

The Comedy Section

I had a show at The Mounds Theater in St. Paul with my good friend Elizabeth Ess and the talented Pat Bauer and Cici Cooper. It is an old movie theater where they now do comedy shows.

There were five people in the audience and the Mike & Ikes were stale. Of those five people, one was my father and three were my friend Chad and his two friends.

Elizabeth would book the venue the following month and they had it half-full. Show business is the devil.

Still, I enjoyed walking to the convenience store with Cici as she remarked that the neighborhood we were in reminded her of New York.

Last Comic Standing



My mother and I went to go see the Top 5 of Last Comic Standing at Mystic Lake Casino. Andy Erikson was a major source of encouragement in my early career. I went to her wedding reception. After the show, all five comics were graciously signing autographs and merchandise. I was too shy to talk to any of them. Even Andy, who, I like, know. I finally got a picture with her. I wanted pictures with other comics but I just clammed up for some reason. I get like that sometimes. I was like that with Bianca del Rio, too, but that was a week after I had a major personal relationship fall apart and I would have been sad about anything. All five were hilarious and we had a great time. I had lost my debit card TWO DAYS BEFORE so my mother lent me $60 to lose on slot machines. I never paid her back, either.

I have borrowed so much money from her. Two hours ago I got another overdraft notice. It never ends. She tells me that if nothing changes, nothing changes. I am beginning to realize she is right. I'm not just realizing it, I'm just in less denial about it.

I have come to realize that I am not addicted to alcohol nearly as much as I am addicted to people. And people cost money because Uber costs money and then there is cover and then I am going to have a drink or two or three.

And the people. Oh, the people I have met.





I was lucky enough to perform in the 10,000 Laughs Comedy Festival this year. It is the third year that the Twin Cities comedy scene has put it on, and they invite comics from all over the country. Because I am horrendous about checking my e-mails, I had assumed I was only performing in the Thursday show of that week. It was not until I chose to Google myself like an asshole that I realized I WAS IN TWO SHOWS ON SATURDAY. WHATTTTTT.

My co-worker Annette graciously switched shifts with me on Saturday so I could get to the Comedy Corner by 7. Work was crazy busy and I left early without permission. Not only that, but I was supposed to drive Jared home and he was going shopping and instead of waiting five extra minutes for him I told him to take the train, because his dilly-dallying (to use a phrase of my mother's) had negated my leaving early and now I was going to get in trouble with management for no reason. When I got to The Corner Bar, I wasn't on the list to perform in the first show. This was all karma. My diva antics caught up to me. I was a nobody and show business continued to be the devil. Bob Edwards, who helps run the festival, caught the error and fixed it, and all was well. I did a show at 8 and then a show that didn't start until 12:29 A.M. It was COMEDY, it was fervid, and I wonder what everyone thought about the strange little man huddled in a hoodie in the green room for most of the night. I went to The Saloon after 2 and texted my bartender of my drink of choice so that he could make it before serving was officially stopped. This is why I am broke. Why can't I ever stay home?????

The comedy shows were sandwiched between my high school reunion, an event that I was dreading but actually enjoyed. I went to The Saloon when that was over, too. Why? Why, why, why???? Tales of An Aging Bar Star Who Did Not Get a Degree and Does Not Work at Target Corporate.  I didn't change very much from high school. I still have a crush on the dumb jock and the devout Christian guy, the latter of which I didn't talk to until the end and I am sure I absolutely terrified his wife by inviting myself to the baptism of their first child whenever they have one. Evangelicals don't even have baptisms. They have dedications.

Boys Boys Boys






I went to Halloween with Piano Man. He was in my bathroom in gold lame underwear trying to put on his sexy Pharoah costume. He is tan and chiseled and I got the vapors.

"Jakey," he asked. "Can you help me?"
I declined because I was about to faint and also because I have the fine motor skills of an infant.
"JARED," I declared. "Will you help Piano Man with his costume?"

Jared saw the show and was also at a lack of words.

"Jared," I said, "Remind me to call the plumber tomorrow. I think that pipe burst and now the basement is flooded."
"Oh, I checked already," Jared said. "The basement is very flooded."
"Oh no," said Piano Man. "Can I help?"
"No," I said. "You have done enough damage."








We gallavanted to First Avenue for the Flip Phone Event and met up with Joey and his sisters. There was a sexy Swedish Chef from The Muppets and no one knew who it was. That made me sad. I danced with Under Armour because he was wearing a coconut bra and not much else. I LOVE GAY HALLOWEEN.

The next day, Jared's boss had a question about his Facebook post. "What happened to your basement?" she asked with wide eyes. Flushed with embarrassment, I didn't stick around to hear his answer.

***

I acquainted myself with a couple who explained they were in an open relationship. I was sitting next to an adorable twinky singer and a boy from Montana who was a Wilhelmina Model. He would later tell me that he hated modeling and he wished he didn't have to do it anymore. The boys in the relationship were explaining how open relationships work, and while I certainly had my own opinions, I realized I would learn more if I shut the fuck up. I never saw the model again. I see the singer a lot. He hangs with a different (read: way younger and prettier) crowd, but he's good people.

I fell in love for exactly 48 hours.




We were at The Saloon, of course. There was a boy there who was a broski epitomized, with his Ralph Lauren button-down and olive skin and tall, lean but muscular frame. Everyone's jaws were dropping. I don't know what it was -- the stimulants mixed with the tequila, the viewpoint that life is short or what -- but I felt like saying something instead of being an open-mouthed wallflower.

"Excuse me for being so forward," I said, "But you're very handsome." You're very handsome is classy. You're very handsome is not OMG you're sooooo hottttt. You're very handsome is not please fuck me.

"Thank you," he said. Even his teeth were perfect. He kind of reminded me of Kevin.

At the end of the night it was time for the sidewalk sale while we all waited for a cab or Uber. (The sidewalk sale, for the uninitiated, is when people wanting to get a hook-up wait outside the bar at closing time. These have lessened in the age of Grindr. Nevertheless, my sidewalk sale days are long gone. I am expired goods in a sea of fresh meat.)

The impossibly beautiful broski was off to hail a cab.

"Have a good night," I said.
"Aww, that's my DUDE," he said.
"Let's broski hug," I said.
"Nah," he said. "Let's hug for real."

We hugged and for three point five seconds I was literally dead. I would have told myself that I had a good run. I laughed. I loved. I saw Paris.

The next day, we somehow ended up at Jetset. It was a Saturday and so Joey, Jared and I decided to venture to The Saloon anyway, because The Saloon stays open until three even though they stop serving at two and we were still feeling social. Also, we must have started really late for some reason Maybe we worked. It is not important.

What is important is we were out on the patio that night when a crowd of gays were around a tall specimen and you could almost step in the drool on the cement. And mid-sentence, he stopped all that was around him ...

"Hey," he said with a concave grin. "My buddy."
"Hiiiiiiii," I said, and I could feel myself turning red.
My friend from high school asked if he was straight. I hate when gay guys do that. When women do it, it's okay, like when my friend Kate and I were at Honey and found out the cute bartender was bisexual.
He said he was straight but I didn't care as this was an eighth grade crush and I was going to have the best of it.

I talked about myself and life for as long as I could and he wouldn't stop smiling.

"Are you always like this?" he asked.
"He is," Jared said, almost sadly.
"I've just never met anyone that's so ... animated," he smiled.
"It's exhausting," he said.
Joey could not stop laughing. "You always use that dumb 'bro' voice for every straight guy you meet," he said. "But he actually sounds like that!"

We went to the dance floor and a Stage Five Clinger of a woman kept trying to dance with him. "Dance with me," he pleaded. "Just say you're my boyfriend."

I danced but not too close because I didn't want to get a boner. Then his friend who was short but muscular tried dancing with me. I didn't know what to do. I felt like I was on display like Melissa Gorga. Was this a test? For once, Joey and Jared were staring at me as if I was the belle of the ball. I didn't dance with his friend. The beautiful straight man left, but I gave him my number and told him to come to my next show. He did not come to the show and I would later lose my phone that had his number in it. Maybe he was a unicorn or all a dream. For an early Christmas present, my mother gave me a phone that is the size of a small doberman.

That was the only person I saw at the bar that gave me heart palpitations.

Well wait.

There was that one night ...




My mother told me not to go the bar.

 The whisper told me not to go the bar. 

I went to the bar an hour after I said I would be there thanks to a delightful wave of IBS and OCD that blended in a Saturday evening alphabet soup. The gentleman I was meeting was on his way out when I got there.

My friend calmed me down and fixed my shirt. He called me pregnant an hour later but I wasn't even that mad about it.

And at the bar, he stood right by me. Swigging a beer. Same flannel wear, same raspy voice, same smart blue eyes always hiding something. The whispers had been right. But here we were, for the first time in six months since he emphatically (and understandably) left my life, and it was meant to be, and I was going to conduct myself like an adult. I would not cry. I would not shriek. I would not swear. I would only say hello if initiated.

"Sean!" he yelled. Well, of COURSE he knew the gorgeous engaged heterosexual I had just met. I was now ready to throw away everything I had just said and unsolictedly bust his balls. "Of course you know Sean!" I was ready to cry.

...And then in a double-take later, I came to realize it was a different person. Looked and sounded damned similar, but close only counts in horseshoes. Or something. I don't know.

The movie in my mind had many different beginnings and endings.

In real life I got a most lovely beginning. The ending sucked but it was at least an ENDING. Some people don't even get that.

And on we go.

Maybe that's okay that it wasn't him. After all, this is what I looked like that night:







UGH. Also, I have no idea who that boy is. Doug wanted me to take a picture with him and I didn't argue.

Before I know it, I will be at the one-year mark when what seemed like the never-ending story finally ended -- as I said, it was a bad ending, but it ended. I can only accept it. Unlike the last big estrangement, I have only had one memorable dream about him. We were at a Starbucks in Dallas and I met who I assumed was his partner. We were cordial and he seemed very happy. I rarely drink coffee and I have never been to Dallas, unless you count the time I was stuck at the airport for eight hours and my aunt was so delirious she insisted that there was no such thing as Texas anymore.

***

My New Job






After seven years, I got a new job.

I am making a lot less money but I am a lot less stressed out and everyone tells me that no, eventually, I WILL make a lot more money, it just takes time and effort and hard work and all that fun stuff. The schedule is great and I am surrounded by gorgeous men all day. A girl could have it worse.

***

Marin

I went to a fancy dinner party at Marin Restaurant that I couldn't afford. My card got declined. People used words like "penthouse" and "cabin". When I got there I ran into the plexi-glass and that was when I was stone cold sober.  I had no business being there but I did sit across from the owner of Tiger Sushi and she was SO nice. I am forever a fan now.



Also, one Monday night Steve and I were going to Marin for Happy Hour but went to The Saloon, as we always do, and NICK AND JOE JONAS WERE THERE. I cannot have nice things.


***

Jared has a boyfriend. He stays over about eight days a week. He cleans up after himself and I like him well enough. I am trying to remain positive and think about that if we ever had a home invasion, it is one more person likely to attack the intruder. I stay at my parents' house a lot more often now. One time I wanted to stay over at Joey's but he had to work in the morning and I typed in all caps how hurt I was. That was an embarrassing 9 A.M. "Oh my god I was drunk and stupid" text that followed.

I have gained ten pounds and feel like a lonely and angry marshmallow.

30 is looming.

This is my new reality.

On we go.

***

And I will try to write MORE because we have so much to talk about next week.

Like Christmas
And New Year's (my favorite time of the year)
And my return to acting!!!! I got cast in a play. So exciting. So scary.

I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2016. Let's hang out more often this year.

Xoxo
Jakey