By Jeff Walsh
I have a friend and former teacher that I see whenever I go home to visit and, even without much warning, we'll end up sitting at a corner table at a casino bar, order some drinks, and settle in.
It's become pretty routine that we're going to catch up on things, have some deep conversation, and just enjoy each other's company for a few hours. And, no matter how long it's been since we last got together, the connections flood back and you realize the special bonds that people share.
When I got my review copy of Brent Hartinger's The Elephant of Surprise, I was a bit apprehensive. How long ago did I read the last book? How did it end? And, since this is the fourth book in the Geography Club series that began a decade ago, how did we get here?
I didn't need to worry. First of all, Hartinger does a quick summary at the beginning of the book. But as you start reading the names, and how the characters interact, it all starts coming back to you. Maybe not every plot point of all three books, but the bonds between the characters, the little quirky details, and the comfort of being on a journey with these friends again.
Another new social media experience I had tonight is seeing a friend tagged in a lot of photos and such on my Facebook ticker, and when I finally clicking through to see what kind of trouble he was out getting himself into, I learned that all of the tags were, sadly, eulogies...
I knew William Brandon Lacy Campos from around when I first started Oasis in 1995, and he would submit columns every month in his early activist days in the mid-to-late 90s. We never became great friends then, but I always stayed aware of what he was up to.
When we were both in the Bay Area and later NYC, we made a lot of casual plans that fell through, as you do, finally seeing The Kinsey Sicks at the Highline a few months back. But with Facebook, we thrived. Every day, we traded torrents of bitchy over-the-top remarks. I'd say something culturally insensitive. He'd threaten to slap be back to slavery. I'd ask if I could pick what kind of plantation I wanted to own, and on and on.
The subtext was always playful, though, and I enjoyed being connected with him as often as we were through our conversations. I mean, why spend time making fun of people you don't care about?! So, our physical interactions were incredibly low, but after more than two decades of being aware of someone, there remains that connection.
By Jeff Walsh
Anthony Lee Medina first caught my attention when he nearly fell on me during the Spring Awakening tour in San Francisco. I was seated onstage, and he took an impressive spill during 'Bitch of Living,' that only seemed to energize him more for the song.
I'm never quite sure what it is about seeing certain performers in a show, and you follow them after that show, but I've always kept up with Anthony (Facebook helps there).
Of course, since that time in 2008, I spent much of the time erroneously thinking Anthony was straight and not Oasis material, a notion that was quickly dispelled upon seeing his solo show, Anthony Lee Medina - About Me, after moving to NYC.
Now, Anthony is starting a new part of his career, as he raises the money to put out his first collection of songs, The Ladybug Articles, later this year. Most of the songs are inspired by his ongoing tumultuous relationship with a guy he is still in love with.
We met during the recent heatwave at Otarian, a vegetarian restaurant he turned me onto in the city, and we talked. A lot. Here's what we had to say:
Oh the afternoon. The sun is out and if I were outside I might hear birds and see squirrels. Mother nature is dangling the sensations of spring in my face, the sick motherfucker!
All Alone All Alone
I went everyone to know
This is who I am, This is who I am
But what if I'm not what I say
Its a lie, Its a lie
Just like before
I want an excuse
An excuse to be depressed
Im telling myelf a lie to be different
I brainwashed myself
I dont know the truth
Who I am, What I say, nothing is true
I just want attention
I want everyone to see me
I want to be noticed
I feel confined when no one knows
So were going to the bar to play pool...sounds like fun...
volunteering. intellectual illumination. an apology.
So hey, I haven't written much in a while.
So I've got a significant other, I suppose. I'm pretty sure I'd call him my "boyfriend," but I've come to the understanding that this is something one asks, and not something one assumes.
At any rate, so much to talk about.
It all started about two months ago. I was talking to Alex online, and he told me that he was talking to this guy Alfred; someone who had contacted me, but I didn't feel any "chemistry," and I don't think he did either. So, nothing came of that. Alex was SO upset about this. He accused me of all sorts of things. In the end, he and Stef, my two best friends, said that I should give people a chance, and to lower my expectations a bit. So, I did, sorta.
I tried locating those lost seven hours...but to no avail. Oh well, all is good in the House of Debauchery.