An Evening With David Sedaris from the Mediocre Seats

I had the good luck and years of bad spending habits to get hugely inflated tickets to see David Sedaris’ reading at Paramount Theatre in Denver this last Friday.

Ticket prices and gouging is definitely in the top ten of my Annoying Things right now. They sell out in seconds and are then hugely priced (and profitable….) on apps or street corners. Seeing a band or attending an event requires SEAL Team Six level planning or at least budgeting.

I was not disappointed. The best part about attending live is the whole alive part. As with bands, I would eventually have the opportunely to experience most the material in a book or recording.

My favorite part of the evening was the questions at the end. The first I rolled my eyes out as someone blurted it, nervous and breathless from in front of me in Orchestra Left (note: these people and their good tickets and bravery at asking corny questions astonish me. Some people have it all…).

“What would you like to be remembered for?” they breathed.

David didn’t roll his eyes and was very kind, but did basically shrug for a few moments. “Well… not my writing…. My writing’s not going to change the world or anything.” He actually shrugged, his shoulders high and nearly comically expressive in his blazer, looked around while pondering and almost starting in on elaborating. The audience squirmed and chucked awkwardly, sympathy echoing from from those shy, queer growing up questions like “is there any special girl at school?” or “what do you want to be when you grow up” or something.

Then he said, “You know, a few months back I was at a reading…” Apparently, afterward a women, a representative of the governor of Kentucky, had come up and made the man an honorary Kentucky Colonel. Papers were signed, photos taken and a red tie bestowed along with the privilege of box luxury at the Kentucky Derby. It’s the highest honor the governor of Kentucky can give out, and not even in person!

“So yeah, I’d like it if my obituary mentioned that I’m a Kentucky Colonel.”

If that sad story unfolds, I know at the very least I will remember the Colonel fondly, inspired by the bestselling author’s modesty and humor.

Born Again – Coming of Age, Transparent Episode Review

“I made this deal with God. I asked him, I said, ‘If you want me to live, you will not infect me. And If you want me to die, you will. That’s how much I thought my life didn’t matter.”

Transparent’s season 4 premiered a few weeks ago on Sept. 21st, and if there is one episode of the Amazon series that I wish everyone would watch, it’s episode 5, “Born Again.” Maybe I’ll have a watching party. LMK.

There’s the standard check-in with the cast, but the central theme pivots around critical moments in Davina (Alexandra Billings) and Maura’s (Jeffrey Tambor) younger lives in which they make prayerful deals with god.

I’ll admit, the first time I watched the episode, I felt very uncomfortable, but it took me some time to figure out why. There are intense themes presented in which I personally related, but the reason extended into exploring the moments and tools we all use to become ourselves. These can be hard truths to face.

The things we decide to never to again; the multiple versions of ourselves we slowly build and try out; the things we do to survive; the decisions forming who we are said to be, whether our real, wanted and honest truth or not; who we are with our family, then our friends, love interests and coworkers.

The episode feels like spoken word at times, Davina telling her story, juxtaposed along with Maura’s. In true Transparent style, the past blends into the future – younger Maura peppering the past and blooming into the present – Davina, a spark of herself on the stage and pain of the past. Her present self delivers the lines of Candi Staton’s “I’m Just A Prisoner,” her story weaving into the lyrics to rousing applause and cheers. Versions contrasting and crossing over, born again.

Though your love / has got me in captivity / yet if you should leave me / I know I would die

“I guess you could say the fear of death made me embrace life. If I was going to die, I was going to fucking live first.”

‘I’m rooting for everybody black’ – Issa Rae & the Impolite Truth

First of all, Issa Rae doesn’t give a shit what I have to say, and that is what makes her an absolute champion for equality.

Let’s face it, in certain recent years and at other venues, the Insecure mastermind’s statement would not have made any sense. The #OscarsSoWhite boycott of 2016 had followed two consecutive years of white-only nominees.

Those two years and plenty of others saying “I’m rooting for everyone” would mean the exact same thing as “I’m rooting for everyone white.” So…

And it still took Leo how long?

It’s not the polite silence we’re used to experiencing, but it’s all truth. I see Issa’s remark as a celebration of long awaited representation of marginalized people, she doesn’t make her stories for me and that’s okay. Narratives, stories and views not seen or experienced, ever.

I’m glad to shutup. With the history made by the wins of Lena Waithe, Donald Glover, Sterling K. Brown, Riz Ahmed, there is much to clap, root and holler for.

We can hope that we are living in a resulted in a renaissance of racial awareness that we can only hope is lasting.

What media are you excited for that is breaking the mold? Underground hiphop or grungy artist? I was stoked to see Michaela Cole of Chewing Gum‘s new Netflix show that is happening, definitely on my list!

 

Stop Saying Beards are Over. Facial Hair is so Fetch.

There’s no denying what a torture chamber the modern bathroom can be.

Hold the psychologist jokes and copies of Everybody Poops. I’m talking about brows we tweeze and wince; the scraps of plastic we pluck onto our irises; teeth of combs digging into our scalps; the blemishes you’re not supposed to squeeze; soap in our damn eyes, man.

My least favorite, the series of razor blades, a precise little potato peeler, dragged across the skin and the little cuts and gouges we greet with mock surprise.

How did that happen?

I don’t think I’m alone. Just look around at the unshaven masses resisting what some great forces are trying to end, calling for the death of this great shaggy era.

Everybody Shaves Something is an anxiety-saving book I wish existed. It would follow a puberty-age figure with a branded name and have pictures of their journey discovering proper maintenance of various hairy parts of the teen body. If Gillette bites, we’ll go with Gil for a name.

In my Coming of Age, Sex Ed pamphlets did the job summing up condom use and basic anatomy, but not really how to avoid the kind of embarrassing razor burn that delays plans of inviting anyone from taking a closer look.

Maybe our friend Gil would spend a page or two advising on the mainstream standards of beauty that promotes the idea that hairless equals desirable, but that wouldn’t be very good for razor sales.

The hashtag #beardporn is a thing and only the tip of beard-related obsession…

There are undoubtedly some skills that carry over from learning to shave the face, but that’s assuming you ever learned that properly. My dad was generally getting high or watching professional wrestling when he wasn’t at work.  And really, to this day I still feel too awkward when I’m in the bathroom with anyone else to breathe more than an, “excuse me….” before darting out with wet fingers.

I imagine that other’s experience starts over a Sunday morning breakfast, a square-jawed and perfectly-shaven father notices my light stubble saying something like, “why, Eric, you’re becoming a man before our very eyes!” Flash to a white and blue-tiled room, equipped with razors, creams and lotions; little bubbles of advice floating over my shoulder.

“You don’t need to run the water the whole time.” “With the grain first, son.”

That’s the advice I got from commercials and the internet. A few drinks at night with friends that grew up poor, with a single or divorced parent generally has this effect of self-raising. When my parents were not at work, they were relaxing or hustling the shopping and gifting to keep three kids well enough so that other people mind their own business. Sometimes I wonder if  there’s a glow of understanding that draws me to scrappy friends like me that taught ourselves to drive, pay bills and express ourselves only when plied with substances.

Luckily for a good number of my friends, recently hairyness is next to godliness. You can order a mustached dildo if that’s your thing, the hashtag #beardporn is a thing and only the tip of beard-related obsession. In this market, a desperately sweating and suddenly hip Gil starts pushing pomade and beard soap.

There are definitely other shaving dudes out there, but I’m not friends with those type of guys: dudes with MBAs, accountants and dudes that work in finance. I’ve fallen in with friends that generally have tech jobs, student debt and interesting hobbies.

It’s a sign of the changing times, and I’m in favor of it. Ideally, there are less ideals that support systemic oppression out there influencing these standards. There was a time when my friend John, whose long hair and chest-length, curly beard would never have gotten a professional gig. Finally, it seems like what you can do might matter a little more than what you look like.

Being white still helps a lot.

The climate is now more Not Everybody Needs to Shave Something. Gil promotes different facial hair styles and cautions against the neck beard. He tells knowingly of trimming armpit hair to ease in applying deodorant; how a little shave below should always involve every shaving product available, that fucking capitalist. Almost alone, I’ll be buying in as my friends grow out their facial freedom.

Somewhere, a group of grumpy elders gather in arm chairs, regretfully discussing how they failed a generation due to someone unknown loss of power.

“All it used to take was a, “get a job, hippie” but now… I don’t know…”

They don’t know, which is why the headlines keep coming up announcing the end of the bearded era. Like computers and internet being a phase, like pants for ladies or being gay.

Sorry, facial hair is here to stay…. even if I can’t grow much myself.