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?


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 ....

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