Wednesday, April 4

Way back in December of 2003, I attended a TWOP Recappers Summit in Las Vegas. I was living in New York and working around the clock at the time, attempting to balance the endless rigors of my two ersatz careers: working in publicity and singing Christmas carols at a loud Italian restaurant. This strange crunch time led to my only being able to go to Vegas for seventy-two hours, a trip which legend has retold as, “Dan got off the plane, had a martini with Pamie, a cup of tea with Tara, and turned around and got right back on that plane.” I was also in the grips of a hateful death cold that had caused me to lose my voice completely, a distinct occupational hazard when attempting to 1) tell journalists to write a story about the director of the Shall We Dance remake or 2) choke out the tenor part of “Sleigh Ride” to drunk patrons at a loud Italian restaurant.

I got myself to McCarran Airport on Sunday morning, where I came face to face with a departure board lit up in red with the word “CANCELLED.” The east coast was socked in with snow, the airport in Vegas looked like a refugee camp that had been outfitted with “Wheel of Fortune” slot machine games, and ground control back at JFK indicated that we probably wouldn’t be going anywhere for a while. Then I got to the Jet Blue terminal, where my flight to New York was not only scheduled to take off, it was also slated to land on time.

Now, this was a snow EVENT in New York, one which, if memory serves, kept Sarah from being able to make it to the summit at all. So it was with some trepidation that I even checked in. It was sixty degrees and sunny in Vegas, but what on earth were we flying into?

The nice Jet Blue man at the gate clearly felt our concern, to the point where he invited all of the passengers (and we all went) behind the counter to look at the latest satellite map. It was still snowing in New York and only one runway at JFK was open, but by the time we were to arrive in New York the storm would have moved through just enough for us to land. I closed my eyes, convinced myself that Jet Blue had somehow forgotten to register itself with the FAA, and held my breath for four hours until we were safely on the ground in New York. I may be wrong about this, but I actually think we landed a few minutes early.

Cut to present day. I’m usually annoyingly up on the news, but I’ve just come off a very, very long couple of months at work that have left me clueless as to what is going on the world. I heard about Jet Blue’s public relations disaster back in February, and rather than vowing never to fly the airline again, I thought, “This is the same mentality that got me to New York on time.” Knowing I had some time off coming up, I booked a flight on Jet Blue from Burbank to JFK. My seat assignment? Row 1, seat on the aisle. Clearly I was only person on the planet who had interpreted other people’s misfortune to have been stuck on a runway for eleven hours as “the groovy moxie of an airline that loved too much.”

I am currently in the middle of my first day of a three-week break. I finished my show and I’m on my way to New York to see the friends, family, and places I haven’t seen in over a year. I thought about doing something really dramatic and exotic like going on some extended vision quest to Europe to find myself, but, honestly, I am about a hundred years old and I’ve pretty much done all of the finding that I have in me. I don’t need to be in Paris by myself.

I woke up at 6:30 this morning, said goodbye to Eric, hugged the cats for the better part of an hour, packed all of the stuff I didn’t need (I’m going to read six books? Really?) and probably forgot the stuff that I did need (whither all of my prescription medication, I wonder?), and tapped my fingers while Pamie navigated her way to my house so we could go out to breakfast. After two cups of coffee and a panini literally dripping brie (so much for losing ten pounds while I’m on vacation), I checked my watch and listened as Pamie gently mocked, “Yep. Four whole planes flying out of Burbank today and you need to have the opportunity to be on all of them.”

I arrived three hours early. To hell with all of you.

But…BUT! There’s weather in New York again, and my flight had already been delayed an additional half-hour by the time I got to the gate. However, the previous Jet Blue flight to New York had been delayed two hours (planes spend so much time in the sky and no one has figured out a way for them to fly in the rain yet, am I right, girls?), so I crossed my fingers and approached the gate. I chatted with the two nice Jet Blue ladies (Theresa and Nicole) for five minutes about getting on the earlier flight, and with a little begging (they thought the standby seats would all be taken) I asked to be added to the list. I’m very charming. Ten minutes later, they paged me to the desk over the intercom, which is a first for me. I walked over as quickly as I could, so gleeful at the possibility of getting out of Burbank on an earlier flight that I blurted out, “You guys made me feel totally famous!” They asked me if I wanted them to do the announcement again so that the whole airport could hear it, and I asked them which button they could press so that my name could also be heard at LAX. There were still seats available on the earlier flight, but my bag was already on the later plane, so I would have to wait until the second plane came in anyway. Except, wait. They can check on that. They did, and ten minutes later I looked outside to see my little blue bag sailing across the tarmac on a little cart and getting loaded onto the first plane. And here I am, sitting in the third row on the aisle of a shockingly full plane. A two-row demotion isn’t a bad trade-off for getting into New York two hours early. I have so far finished three back issues of Entertainment Weekly, pretended I was going to start the new Vanity Fair, and slept through the better part (at least I assume it was the better part, as the part I saw wasn’t better than much of anything) of A Night At The Museum. Why so angry, Ben Stiller? What’d the T-Rex ever do to you?

So, here I am. Three weeks out of LA. Since I moved there, I have always maintained that there should be a law on the books in the state of California that if you live in Los Angeles County you should be forced to spend a month out of every calendar year just being somewhere else. That law doesn’t exist yet, so I’m getting ready to enforce it for myself.

Happy birthday, Pamie.

buy this book!

I have an exceedingly high proportion of “brilliant women who write books” as friends, and I wanted to make sure everyone knew about my New-York-based division of this category.

Miranda Beverly-Whittemore‘s second book — SET ME FREE — has just been published by Warner Books. It’s already on the shelves! Why read this entry? Go buy the book! Then check out her website, which will be re-launched with a new design and much expanded content, sometime in the next week. It’s the best place to get up-to-date news about readings and reviews.

And, if you’re lucky enough to live in the northeast or northwest, go check out one of her readings. She’s really pretty, and if you tell her you know me she’ll be initially happy and THEN mad that I’m not able to attend ANY of her readings. So get away before she gets mad. YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE HER MAD!

where the advocate doesn’t have time to tread

A recent column of mine for the Advocate was killed due to time and space constraints, so it has become a proud, exclusive! My next piece will run in the print edition of the magazine, on stands next week. Which I’m looking forward to mostly because it means we’ll get a new cover. And it’s not that I don’t love Bill Maher — because I really, really do — but there are few things that make me feel less gay than two straight weeks of him on the cover.


Gay TV For You and Me

At the midseason mark in the television season, we check in on what’s gay (and what’s not) in some mainstream television offerings.

by Daniel J. Blau

Why do television networks feel there needs to be niche programming for gay viewers? And, far more importantly, why does it have to be so lame so frequently? For example, Lifetime recently announced yet another dating show — this one imaginatively entitled Gay, Straight, or Taken — in which some poor woman has to choose whether three suitors are, well, please refer back to the title. Wackiness ensues. Culture continues its treacherous decline.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad there’s a LOGO and I’m glad there are so many permutations of “Queer [X] for the Straight [Y]” and I’m glad there’s an Anderson Cooper, but not all television needs to be made by and for gay viewers to be considered, in and of itself, “gay television.” Sometimes it seems that the suits who program the mainstream, creamy nougat center of the television universe forget that gays’ viewing habits pretty much reflect exactly what everyone else is watching. I mean, along with the Jews, they practically run Hollywood already, right? So here at midseason, let’s pause and reflect on five shows all audiences can enjoy (or, in one case, abhor) together, why they’re inherently appealing to gay viewers, and what they could do to become just that teeny bit gayer.

Ugly Betty
What is it: ABC’s freshman comedy/drama features the misadventures of plucky, fashion tone-deaf Betty Suarez (America Ferrera) as she tries to make it at fashion magazine Mode.
Why it’s a little gay: Truth be told, it’s more than a little gay. In the fashion world, Betty runs into her share of over-the-top fashion and over-the-top personalities, ranging from Vanessa Williams’ fashion diva Wilhelmina Slater to Wilhelmina’s doting assistant, Marc (Michael Urie). Marc is such a perfect cliché of the snarky gay fashionista that Wilhelmina at one point snipes, “Do you know how many curly-haired, effete sycophants there are waiting to replace you?” (Answer: “You have five on speed dial.”) Meanwhile, back at home, Betty spends time with her young, showtune-loving nephew Justin (Mark Indelicato), who sings and dances through the borough of Queens (appropriately), reading fashion magazines and choosing the Halloween costume of — you guessed it — a sailor.
How we would make it just a little gayer: If possible, we’d love even more screen time for the excruciatingly funny Becki Newton who, as office assistant Amanda, drops acid bon mots worthy of the world’s cattiest gay men. That, and we’d like to see as much as possible of World’s Cutest Boy Christopher Gorham, who has recently joined the cast as Betty’s new love interest, Henry.
Gay ranking: Four pink triangles.

How I Met Your Mother
What is it: It’s a CBS sitcom that’s actually funny!
Why it’s a little gay: What at first glance seems like another example of clueless heteros stumbling around a sitcom on their quest for true love is gayed up big time by three words: Neil Patrick Harris. Harris routinely steals the scene as the shallow, womanizing Barney Stinson, a character that has grown even more winking and outlandish since Harris officially announced to the world that he’s gay.
How we would make it just a little gayer: Introduce Wayne Brady as James, Barney’s gay, black brother, and play on the meta theme that he’s so gay and Barney is so straight. Which, come to think of it, is EXACTLY what the show did on its November 27 episode. Like we said, this show is a lot more clever than people give it credit for.
Gay ranking: Two and a half pink triangles.

What is it: Desert island. Plane crash. Others. Numbers. Hatch. If you need much more of an education than that, you might not actually own a television set.
Why it’s a little gay: Lost is a very special type of porn…the kind that entire families can enjoy together! It maybe a cliché, but it bears repeating: there were really that many hot men on that one little plane? Jack, Sawyer, Charlie, and Jin landed on an island and soon met Mr. Eko, creating a new society of flawless Y-chromosomes, who will one day mate with the women of Lost island to create a race of super-hot babies. This season, Sawyer looks so good and so shirtless in his cage that we can almost forgive the show for its dual crimes of depriving Charlie of any meaningful screen time, not to mention the almost unforgivable season one killing off of Boone, far and away Lost‘s most adorable cast member.
How we would make it just a little gayer: Get Kate out of Sawyer’s cage and replace her with Jack so that the two of them can JUST KISS ALREADY and get it over with. Knowing that it’s going to be three more seasons before we find out why there are polar bears on the island, waiting to see any combination of these men make out just one time is the reason at least half of the audience still tunes in every week. And one more note: I don’t care how you do it, Lost, but BRING BACK BOONE.
Gay ranking: Three pink triangles.

Top Chef
What is it: Bravo’s reality show is brought to you by the same production company that has brought us three glorious seasons of The Gayest Show Ever, the superlative Project Runway. Instead of designing dresses, Top Chef contestants chef up truffles, and instead of a perky host and a panel of bitchy judges, there is…a perky host and a panel of bitchy judges.
Why it’s a little gay: What isn’t just a tiny bit fey about twelve people trying to make the prettiest flambé?
How we would make it just a little gayer: Hold our breaths, close our eyes, and will ourselves into a hibernation-like state until Project Runway once again graces our TV screens.
Gay ranking: Two pink triangles.

Big Day
What is it: ABC’s new, critically-skewered sitcom about a couple’s wedding day. Like 24, the audience experiences a single day in real time. Unlike 24, this time you’ll actually be praying for a cataclysmic terrorist event that destroys the city in which these people live.
Why it’s a little gay: It’s not gay at all. But like Fox’s odious Til Death, it proves to gay audiences once and for all that straight couples hate each other. They bicker, they connive, they put their own needs ahead of their partners’. Big Day seems to argue that marriage is worthy of fear and mistrust between partners, and that we would be better off to avoid it completely. What a potent argument that maybe we don’t even want marriage if it’s going to be this entertaining.
How we would make it just a little gayer: Change the channel until you find a syndicated rerun of Will & Grace. Or, better yet, Golden Girls.
Gay ranking: [zero]

Dear Defamer…

The Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards gave […] Little Miss Sunshine best screenplay, proving stretching out Blind Melon’s “No Rain” video into 100 minutes of indie movie quirk clichés was an idea whose time had come.

Exactly. THANK YOU for saying it. Now I don’t feel so alone in the world.

an ill wind

First, there was the storm.

Then, there were the blackouts.

Then, there were the carbon monoxide poisonings. I’m sorry, the WHAT?

Then, still, there were the blackouts.

When are the locusts?

It was to this dystopian Al Gore weather-mare that I let Eric fly on Saturday morning. I grew up in the northeast, where every flake of snow was greeted with a hail of news stories all screaming “THE STORM OF THE CENTURY,” no matter the century we were talking about. So when I heard about the gusty wind in the Pacific Northwest, I downplayed in a most typical way. “Yeah, wind. Sounds windy.”

Oops. Last night, Eric slept under every blanket he could find in the Pacific Northwest, as his parents’ house still doesn’t have power four days after the storm. He has periodically taken trips to the car to warm up, where he has run into his dad in the process of grinding coffee beans.

I leave to go up there on Saturday. If there’s still no power, I’m bringing the cats as blankets. Warm, cuddly, adorable blankets. So get fixing, northwest utilities…I’m not sure Bumble would make it through the flight.

Tove would like to be added as your friend!

At this exact moment, is a cat blog.

So I’m working at home all day on Friday, and Tove spends literally the entire day sitting in my lap. Like, to the point where I have to reach around him on both sides to navigate my hands onto the computer keyboard. He was not to be budged. So I clicked the below shot with my camera phone and couldn’t stop laughing for an hour. Here’s the picture, and then we’ll discuss:


Do you see what I see? Namely the fact that one of his paws isn’t in the shot, making it look like he lifted the camera up and took the picture of himself? Also, dig the laptop and the planner and the Trader Joe’s cereal and the Tivo remote and the running shoes all in the background. Why is it that he has all of the same stuff I have, and yet he looks so much cooler than I ever do?

I emailed it to Eric. As he so aptly put it in response, “That is SO his MySpace picture.” Which is so going to happen. He does, after all, already have an email address.

I heart Gawker

Yet another chapter in my upcoming memoir, If I’m So Famous, Where’s All My Money?


Out with it, you guys. Who’s the tipster?

at least I’m writing somewhere

“Doll face, have you ever watched the television show Nip/Tuck?” It’s always somewhat awesome to be addressed as “doll face,” but it’s the apex of awesome when the person referring to you in such a way is your eighty-six year-old grandmother, asking you if you watch one of the goriest, most depraved shows on television. And she even took a little catch breath between the word “nip” and the word “tuck.”

“Grandma,” I told her. “You love that show so much you even pronounced the slash.” Continue reading

This is not an appropriate title for a children’s movie

Dear Century City Cinema’s computerized ticket-ordering system:


Maybe I’m giddy with excitement that there’s an animated movie about a house that eats people because it thinks that they’re jerks. Or maybe it’s because a rebate + a dropped cell phone + a boyfriend with a roommate who works at Cingular = a new, practically free camera phone that I CANNOT STOP USING. Either way, I will be first in line to see the upcoming release Monster Ho, whose tagline is, doubtlessly, “She is a monster…and a ho.” Such a film should not have earned a PG rating.

Here is Eric’s impression of said monstrous ho. It’s so accurate I no longer need to see the movie:


And at 4:30 of all things. Such a film should not be shown during the family hour.

Who loves MySpace?

Me, not so much. Especially after Pamie and I went through such a public de-Friendstering on this very blog, so long ago.

But this page seems to have some interesting information on it. I don’t know who all of these people are, but I sure hope they get what they’re fighting for. They seem nice. Nice and hot. It’s been a little warm out recently.

But who loves You Tube? I do!

Strike blog or cat blog? I’m still hammering out which one this will become.