Archive for December, 2006

Tour de Masturbate-a-Thon part 3: finis

December 13, 2006

By Carol Queen

Yes, I’m insanely late. I thought I posted this three months ago. Is it possible that I’m too Luddite to blog?

Anyhow, this is how that notorious trip to London-town ended up. We just had a meeting yesterday to try to plot another one next summer! And the Brits will have had a whole year to practice masturbation; I’m sure it will be stellar. Word has it the Aussies may be interested as well. Now, the wayback machine, to August:

Did anyone ever have a better nights’ sleep than this? A successful Masturbate-a-Thon under our belts (well, some of us more than others — I bet that Ruth woman, she of the nearly-50 orgasms, slept the sleep of the angels, unless she ate so much chocolate that she tossed and turned). And by the time Saturday night came around, I was WAY less jet-lagged.

Me, I slept well, and poor Robert slept all day. Really. He just couldn’t wake up, he’d put out so much of his already-low energy. So I went out to Camden Market with Clive, shopping for London snowglobes and Union Jack underwear, both of which can be had there, plus cute sexy dresses and punk clothing for people of all generations. I had to make it back to the Rookery Hotel to have an interview with London’s Bi Community News via Ian, whom we met aeons ago at a bisexuality conference. It was a pleasure to reconnect with him and we had a great chat — I’ll have to ask him if there’s an URL associated with that interview. We’ve been collecting links on the London ‘Thon, thanks especially to the amazing PR talents of Karin Tobiason, and a batch of those can be found below.

Karin, incidentally, has a secret life as an erotic artist. That’s how I met her, curating erotic art shows for Good Vibes back when that was my job; she just had a show of her torn-paper collages in the Good Vibrations Magazine.

Here are all the links I have at the moment: http://www.masturbate-a-thon.com/DC-pages/comments.htm

And here’s the one on YouTube, which is especially exciting because YouTube is so famous this week. Note, if you watch it, that it must have happened early enough in the ‘Thon that I was not yet entirely crispy-fried: http://youtube.com/watch?v=oORynpjNXkg

After the Ian interview wound down I managed to rouse Robert from his by-now-22-hour slumber. Maybe this is just how it is in Europe, and that’s where the Sleeping Beauty fairytale comes from. Was Sleeping Beauty really hellaciously jet-lagged? So the lot of us went out to a nice ‘spensivo London dinner at a trendy joint called The Zetter. “The Lot” consisted of Robert and me, Karin, Ian, Clive, and his pals X and XX. We postmortemed the ‘Thon for everyone who hadn’t been there, but then talk turned to another of my pet enthusiasms: the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Like many of my generation, I found “Don’t Dream It, Be It” words to live by (can you tell?), but I note that the influence of the RHPC has followed me and succeeding generations down the years; in fact, I took the Center for Sex & Culture’s interns to see it at Oakland’s lovely Parkway Theatre just before we left for London. One of said interns was the Rocky Horror Club president at her East Coast women’s college. RHPC haas a college club? See, when you get older, naivite sets in all over again, just when you think you’ve shaken it off. Well, I’ll write about this more another time. But suffice it to say that the two new-to-me Londoners I met via Clive had a fabulous RHPC-related anecdote: They had honeymooned in New Zealand and happened to be in the home town of RHPC creator (and player of Riff Raff) Richard O’Brien when they *dedicated a statue to him*!

People, tell me there’s no future in being your own, freaky self. A *statue*!!

Say, if the Rocky Horror phenomenon changed your life, let me know. One of these days I’m going to write about it. And hey, does anyone have a picture of that statue? I’ll post it here if you send it!

And then we went to sleep, went to the airport, went home, and were jetlagged for Jesus. But a different Jesus, I think, than the one in that poor Green guy’s life.

Did You Have a Festive Meth Day? Well, Happy AIDS Day

December 1, 2006

World AIDS Day: like everyone who lived through the second half of the 1980s, I’ve seen way more of these than I ever wanted to. I told you last night that I’d lost a bunch of people to methamphetamine: the heart attacks, the brains blown out, the too-much-too-soon-too-bad are certainly part of an epidemic different from, yet related to, AIDS. I’ve lost more people to HIV than I can count, but lately, many of the HIV+ people I know who’ve died have had some involvement with meth. But that doesn’t mean that’s the only thing that offs PWAs now (remember that contraction of Person With AIDS? So much less hopeless than calling someone a “victim”).

But if you had told me in 1989, say, that in 2006 we’d have to use this day to remind people that HIV kills, I’d have been incredulous.

We dreamed of a day when there’d be a cure, of course. As people dropped like flies in San Francisco and elsewhere, as people dropped the other things they were doing in their lives to care for each other, protest, and politic, The Cure was on everyone’s lips. Sometime in the early-to-mid 1990s, after early PWAs suffered behind hellacious experimental drug regimens that made even precious extended lifespans pretty miserable, the drug companies got antivirals together that allow HIV’s spectrum of diseases to be much more live-with-able than the old meds like AZT.

Now, instead of showcasing the World Without Art it looked as though the epidemic had wrought, with creative queers among the first groups of people to be hard-hit by AIDS (and subsequently to die in droves), the radio message as I drove home tonight was: Remember, it’s not really cured.

While guys justify barebacking because there are medical treatments now and besides, everybody knows about safe sex and it’s seronegative guys’ responsibility to insist on it, every day another bus comes into the station in every city big enough to have a lot of queer and bohemian people, and riding it is a kid who just got out of high school in Montanta or Oklahoma or Alabama who got worse-than-bad sex education and no information at all about how to be a healthy gay man. While we used to teach that if everyone used safer sex all the time, it wouldn’t be so necessary for individuals to come out as HIV-positive OR -negative, many in the community persist in identifying according to serostatus.

To say nothing of all the straight people who once again don’t believe AIDS has anything to do with them, and the global epidemic, which follows poverty and poor education like bad news after worse.

Each of us can do things that matter. We can remain educated about HIV and talk about the issues. We can get our heads out of the sand, if that’s where they’ve been. We can demand accountability from politicians and make sure our friends (and our kids) have access to condoms and safer sex information. If you don’t use condoms, get some anyway. Someone you know might need them. Next week *you* might need them. My very first blog entry here was written in memory of my friend Steven Brown who’d just died: I bet he’d want to tell you, just like my friends James Campbell and David Lourea and Honza, like John Lorenzini and Cynthia Slater and Daddy Bear Rings and Clark Taylor and all the many, many other people I’ve known whose lives were too short because of this bug: You don’t want this disease. And you don’t want anyone else, anywhere in the world, getting it either.

Want to do something else about AIDS today? Bristol-Myers is donating $1 to an AIDS foundation every time someone goes to their website and moves the match to the candle and lights it. It takes like two seconds to raise $1 at https://www.lighttounite.org/ — if we all do it, that’s $1 times a lot. Plus it feels a little like a ritual, and you can post your own HIV stories there.

Helping a drug company advertise itself is not usually my favorite thing to do. But it’s not like our government is ponying up the cash to help. Help these guys write a nice big check — it’s really the *very* least we, and they, can do.

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