Between getting home from tOWGA's in Connecticut Westchester and grabbing my winter clothes from my grandmother’s on Long Island (because my place is really small), I managed to take every mode of transit the MTA runs in a single Saturday (except for the Long Island bus). You can imagine how elated I was to have to travel to the house party in Bed Stuy/Clinton Hill, Brooklyn that night. Our friend and yet another Ivy League grad, Denzelle, was hosting this one. Denzelle is an actor (black guy) who missed our summer shenanigans because she got a gig somewhere in New Jersey doing Shakespeare. She used to have an unfulfilling office job, but a near-death experience caused her to wake up and follow her dream. And I hate her for it.
I suggested that some of us meet up in Manhattan and trek out together. At 11, about 6 of us left Pieces’s once-a-month Saturday karaoke to head to Brooklyn. MicHELLe had a whole gaggle of friends in town for the weekend, and they had obviously done a little pre-gaming. We ended up spending most of the train ride singing howling songs from the early 90s... and Dreamgirls (because early 90s isn’t gay enough on its own) and being snickered/glared at by fellow passengers.
*Dramatic Chord* “This train is making express stops only! For local service please [go past the stop you want and double back on a local train].”
Without the help of Urban Sprawl or a WiFi/G3 connection, we were kind of fucked. Basically, there were two trains we could have taken, but I only looked at the directions from the A train because I wouldn’t be caught dead on the G train. We made an easy transfer, but we took the G train to the wrong stop and ended up tromping through Clinton Hill (a pleasant walk, but walking nonetheless). Then we came to a block with no brownstones. And another.
“Guys, I’m gonna need y’all queens to quiet the fuck down. The kee-keeing was cute in Clinton Hill, but we're in in Bed Stuy now. And I’d like to leave with my jaw in tact.”
Between my phone and my innate sense of… okay, I totally depended on my phone to get us there (with at least 2 oops-we-were-supposed-to-turn-that-way moments). I walked through the door to find that Denzelle had bought Crown Fried Chicken, which I only ate because I was starving from my journey from the other side of the earth!
Apparently while I was mixing drinks and having sophisticated conversation in the kitchen and living room, most of the party was in the back yard doing keg stands.
But don’t worry: beer kills flu. And herpes.
As the party goes on, I get to know one of MicHELLe’s friends, and we have a great conversation about his career in college admissions. And Fung Wah gets to know another one’s number. I'm sure there's admission to be granted there as well (Wooorrrrrrk!).
Well, now we know from experience that house parties are not a good idea if it gets too late. And nobody wants to train it back from Bed Stuy at 3 in the morning alone, so MicHELLe, her girls, and a few others left with me around 2 and went home. And by went home, I mean fixed a to-go drink on the way to Posh for wild late-night dancing.
Who’s this that MicHELLe is making out with? And walking away with! And more importantly, how is her cousin gonna get back into her apartment?! Wooorrrrrrrrk!
The boys wanted to do a diner, so we ended up at some place on 8th ave. About halfway through our meal, MicHELLe joins us. Huh?
Did I mention that this is the first group of people I've split a check with where everyone's gotten money back (instead of having to put more money in)? Yeah!
Speaking of Brooklyn, click here check out my post on NYC Black Pride 2008!
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Not totally unrelated, but definitely not the typical blog material: I'd like to take a moment to encourage everyone reading to consider purchasing Beyoncé's new album, I Am... Sasha Fierce. Not because I worship Beyoncé in all her fabulousness or anything like that. But because she works to put elements of gay culture into a mainstream spotlight, and that's something that we should support monetarily. The more we gays are exposed to mainstream culture in a positive way, the more that mainstream culture will start to accept (not just tolerate, but accept) us.
How does Beyoncé feature gay culture in her videos?
"Single Ladies", a single off her new album. This video features j setting (throughout the video, but most obviously at 1:21-1:40). This is a form of dance that's popular among gays in the South.
"Freakum Dress" from B'Day. Did you think those were Real Girls behind her in the first 50 seconds? Ha!
"Get Me Bodied" from B'Day. Note the New-Way Voguer at 1:30. "Snap for the kids" is pretty obviously gay, especially in the video (black gays often use "kids" to refer to gays), but check out the "Naomi Campbell walk" at 5:35. There has been talk of the dancer in the middle being a transexual, but I really can't confirm either way. Personally, I've seen more "girls" than girls who can do that walk. The dancer in question is also featured during the "snap for the kids" segment as well. In fact, she does a fall at 5:49, which is without a doubt a reference to voguing and Ball culture. For more on voguing and Ball culture, see Paris Is Burning (the whole documentary can be seen on YouTube). Or if you're in NYC, check out Wig Out, featuring Erik King from Showtime's Dexter (when I went with SoHo Crush, we spotted Lauren Vélez from Dexter as well as Michael Kors from Project Runway in the audience). Then again, the last performance was two days ago, but I swear it was fierce!
So, for all these reasons, I'm plugging Beyoncé's album. Protests and demonstrations are important to our cause, but our dollars are the among the most powerful and lasting tools in influence we have. And if it works, she and her label will continue with the trend.
A more obvious example: Ciara's new song: "Work". Look at the lyrics ("Kings and queens posted at the bar... walk that walk... bitch, you betta work..." et cetera). Her single isn't on iTunes yet, but the album is due out in the Spring of '09. And requesting at parties and clubs puts a bug in DJs ears (buzz is priceless in pop music!). According to the Thomas Crown Chronicles, Ciara says, "I really want to embrace the world and the culture of voguing with this song." Love it!