August 10th, 2002


The last boring entry of my travels, I promise.

As I drove to Boston to meet tarynhipp, I realized that she would be just about the only person I stayed with who I hadn’t known for a long time. Here’s the list:

Baltimore: 17 years
DC: 15 years
Baltimore 9 years
NY: 17 years
Northampton: 8 years
Glens Falls: 14 years
Boston #1: never met in person
Boston #2: 16 years

It made me feel old in a really good way. It also made me wonder why I don’t get to the East Coast more often.

Taryn, Val, Laura, mala106, and subjective were wonderful hosts even though I felt incredibly shy the first night. I’m not usually a shy person but the combination of meeting people who you only know electronically and the fact that everywhere else I went my hosts and I had such long histories made me feel kind of reserved.

Plus arriving in Boston meant that I was in my last city before returning home and that made me like I should have taken more vacation time. I could drive around the country in my Grand Am for weeks before I got tired of it.

The main activity in Boston, at least in horrible, humid weather, seems to be sitting on the porch and I’m always down for that. Though it does go better with beer. Also checked out the Lucy Parsons center which left me rather unimpressed. But I’m a hater that way. My only other Boston observation is that after being in NY, DC, and Baltimore, the whiteness (or segregation) of the city was immediately apparent.

My other Boston friends live in Jamaica Plain, which I always heard was the most diverse neighborhood in the city. That was before the late ‘90s/early ‘00s wave of gentrification however, and my friends described wholesale changes in most of the area that sounded like SF, but worse in some ways because of the lack of decent rent control/eviction laws. That period is going to be looked at as an important moment in urban history throughout the country it seems, for its mass destabilization of neighborhoods and exodus of poor people.

In Boston I also had my only cheese interaction of note. I need to note first that the store I work at in SF is more or less vegetarian. Sitting in a restaurant in Boston, I had just been served a viking-esque half chicken that came complete with a knife sticking straight up and through the center of the bird. About to start eating I hear "Hey, cheese guy!" and look up. It’s a regular cheese customer. We look at each other, both look down at my plate of avian carnage, and share an awkward moment of silence (a social one, not in honor of the fallen chicken)."So, what are you doing in Boston?" we both asked at the same time.

I love being recognized as the "cheese guy". It made my trip complete.


"Jive Dangerously"

Feelings on a Grid played at a benefit last night for the geeky sex positive crowd that I love to mock. It would be easy to write, and probably more entertaining to read, a really stilted entry about the wacky interactions of the queer politicos and the vapid sex positive "radicals", but it was disappointing on a confrontational level.

Probably it was the heat. Yesterday was probably the hottest day of the year. The space the benefit was at was ventilated as badly as Epicenter used to be. Sweaty, sticky and low energy summed up most interactions. I imagine it was even worse in latex or PVC.

The benefit was for Other Magazine, the new Annalee Newitz project. Though I actually like her personally in our limited interactions, her weekly column often leaves me a little cold. She is however, one of the few people in her crowd who can move beyond the usual sex-pos conversation where it seems the most radical goal is to relate every topic to sex.

Typical conversation:
Person #1: statement/observation
Person #2: double entendre
Person #1: double entendre in return
Person #2 triple entendre
Person #1 and #2: (knowing laughter)

I know it’s just cuz most of the are geeky and awkward and working on their issues, but it’s annoying to order a beer and hear a series of sexually-charged innuendo before you can drink it. The Sierra Nevada is still kinda *hot* (wink, wink). Here’s a hard, firm bottle of Miller that you can suck on. . . Urgh.

Anyways, as usual getting the shitty end of the billing (not that they were even mentioned in most listings of the event), Feelings played first to a mostly empty room usually used for a dance studio. Dance acoustics are not ideal for electronic punk, but the Feelings boys played their little hearts out once again. DM Feelings tried to engage the crowd in a discussion about the politics of the "jive" theme of the event ("Jive Dangerously" ?!?) and cultural appropriation but most were uninterested. He ended with, "It’s cool to be sex "radical" and all, but let’s not be single issue ok?"

Highlight of the night: DM intensely dancing with himself in front of the mirror which stretched the length of the dance studio while playing the keyboard with one hand. A female audience member yelled out, "Go Gary!" and after the song was over he said, "You know, it really sucks when you’re really getting into yourself while dancing and you hear a woman’s voice. It really ruins the moment. Any other queens out there know what I mean?" Laughter ensued.

After the Feelings show, a couple of us checked out the clown strippers because, hey, as long term residents of SF it was our duty to see vaguely sexual acts that we hadn’t witnessed before. More funny than sexy, but definitely worth seeing. I drew the line at the stripper mime troupe though. That’s just sick. Being such a jaded San Franciscan I left before Carol Queen and Michelle Tea read even though I think they’re both great. It was just too hot to stay. And i don't mean *hot*.
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